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As If You Were on Fire from Within

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It's a twenty minute bus ride from the Musain to Grantaire's apartment, and Enjolras spends all of it in a fury, putting together a blistering speech about dedication and loyalty and how Enjolras knows him well enough not to expect him to be eager but if he's going to call himself one of them he might at least try to show up to meetings, or not bother coming at all.

He gives Grantaire more leeway than he would Combeferre or Courfeyrac, or even Marius, and perhaps that's his failing. With any of the others, he'd have been pounding down their doors and inquiring about their sincerity before they'd even missed half so many meetings as Grantaire has. And even now, Enjolras would perhaps be inclined to sigh and chalk it up to Grantaire just being Grantaire, except that this meeting was important. Enjolras had stressed that at the end of the last meeting, that they'd need all hands on deck today, and Grantaire had given him a sarcastic salute and an "Aye aye, Captain," as they'd all packed up their things.

And then he hadn't showed, and hadn't even bothered to let anyone know he wasn't going to make it. Probably too busy drinking himself into oblivion, Enjolras thinks darkly, and steps off the bus at Grantaire's stop.

When he reaches Grantaire's door, he pounds upon it, then stands with his arms crossed, wishing he were the sort of person Grantaire might trust with a key so he could let himself in and have this out while the fires of anger are still burning within him, instead of being forced to linger on the doorstep.

Minutes pass and there's no answer. Enjolras knocks again, louder and more insistent. Grantaire's bike was chained up on the rack out front of the apartment building, so Enjolras knows he's home. He knocks again and thinks fondly of breaking the door down. That's more Bahorel's style than his own, but still, the thought is gratifying.

He is out of patience, and knocking gives way swiftly to pounding. He shouts through the door, "R! Open up, it's the least you can do," and is finally answered with signs of life, though the door muffles whatever it is that Grantaire's said in reply to an indistinct garble.

A few more moments and then the lock clicks open. Enjolras pulls the door open and strides in without waiting to be invited, but he nearly bowls Grantaire over in doing so, because he's leaning hard against the door jamb and doesn't react quickly enough to get out of Enjolras's way when he comes storming through.

Enjolras spins around to face him, because they can have this out here just as well as anywhere else in the apartment. But his first true glimpse of Grantaire draws him up short, and the words that burst from him are colored with bewilderment instead of anger. "What the hell happened to you? You look terrible."

Grantaire manages a wan smile, but between the pallor of his skin and the rings around his eyes and the sweat that's broken out across his brow, it just makes him look more wretched, not less. "Thanks, Apollo." His voice is an uneven rasp. "I feel it, but having it rubbed in my face makes me feel ever so much better."

Enjolras can do little more than stare at him, his gaze raking over Grantaire, cataloguing the sweat-sticky shirt that clings to his back, how his fingers fidget at his sides, the way he leans his shoulder in hard against the door jamb and breathes heavily, like he ran a mile instead of just walking across the apartment to get the door.

"Sit down." Enjolras's anger is forgotten in an instant. He takes Grantaire by the arm and tries to lead him back to the couch, but Grantaire pulls out of his grasp and doubles over.

"Don't do that. Oh Christ. Don't touch me." He passes a hand over his face, gasping for air.

This is well beyond some ordinary cold or flu whose effects can be suffered through and waited out. Enjolras steps out of Grantaire's way and points imperiously at the couch as he fishes his phone out from his pocket.

Grantaire goes, glaring at Enjolras and walking like every step pains him. The line connects as he drops down in a sprawl across the couch, and Joly's cheerful voice comes over the line. "Hi, Enjolras."

Enjolras doesn't bother with preamble, simply says, "Something's wrong with Grantaire," as he sits down on the edge of Grantaire's coffee table and pins him to the couch with one hand on his chest. Grantaire groans and tries to bat him away, but he's too weak to be effectual about it, and that's as concerning as anything else.

All the pleasant cheer drops out of Joly's voice, leaves him brisk and business-like. "What sort of wrong? Is he hurt? Do you need a ride to the hospital?"

"Sick. And I don't know." He tips the phone away from his mouth and speaks to Grantaire. "Should I have Joly come over?"

Grantaire groans like the mere suggestion has increased his agony threefold and throws his arm over his face. "No. God. Everyone just go away."

Enjolras speaks into the phone again. "Not yet, I don't think. Just help me triage him?"

"Right. Have you taken his vitals?"

"I just walked through the door, I haven't done anything. Tell me what to do."

Joly walks him through it. Grantaire's breathing is too rapid and his temperature too high, though Enjolras didn't need a thermometer to tell him that. His skin is flushed and he's still broken out in a sweat and he's just lying there, doing nothing but making pitiful sounds, but his chest is still rising and falling as though he's exerting himself.

Enjolras takes Grantaire's pulse without direction, because that, at least, he knows how to do all on his own. He has to take it three times, though, because as soon as he cups Grantaire's hand in his and presses two fingers to the inside of his wrist, he can feel Grantaire's pulse trip and speed up, throwing off his count.

"Ask him if he's got a sphygmomanometer," Joly says in his ear.

"A sphygma-what?"

"A blood pressure cuff, Enjolras. Ask him if he has one."

"Why would he have one of those?" Enjolras protests, but pulls the phone away and asks Grantaire all the same. "Do you have a blood pressure cuff?"

"Fuck off," Grantaire mutters without pulling his arm down off his eyes. "You are not squeezing my arm to within an inch of its life, even if I did have one."

"He says no," Enjolras tells Joly, and gets a soft sigh in response.

"Well, it doesn't take a wild leap to suppose that that's elevated, too. Everything else is." Joly's voice goes strained around the edges, and Enjolras can just see him pinching the bridge of his nose between his fingers, his brow creased and his eyes squeezed shut as he concentrates. "Okay, ask him how he feels. What are his symptoms?"

Enjolras asks, but the only answer he receives is a snapped, "Like I'm dying, Apollo, and you might leave me to it in peace."

"This isn't helping," Enjolras says quietly to Joly, half-turning away. "Maybe you'd better come over after all."

"Oh Jesus, no." Grantaire struggles upright. This time, when Enjolras tries to push him back down, he fights him off with renewed vigor. "Give that to me. Give me the phone!"

Enjolras relinquishes it, because the more he tries to get Grantaire to lie down and rest, the more agitated he becomes. Beneath the pallor and the shine of sweat, his face sets in a stubborn expression that Enjolras knows well, so he just says, "He wants to talk to you," into the phone and then hands it over.

As soon as he has it, Grantaire drops back down onto the couch. He's sitting upright instead of lying down, but he's draped against the cushions with his head tipped back against them so Enjolras lets it slide and just sits there on the hard corner of Grantaire's coffee table, his brows furrowed and straining to hear both sides of the conversation.

"I'm telling you this because you're a medical professional and I expect you not to be a sanctimonious ass about it," Grantaire's saying, "so don't break my trust."

There's a muffled sound over the line that sounds like Joly making assurances. Grantaire takes a deep breath and lets it out. "I took something."

"You what?" Enjolras demands, at the same time that a burst of static that sounds like a similar cry from Joly comes over the line.

Grantaire just shoots him a dark look and turns away from him, saying something to Joly that Enjolras can't hear over the sudden rush of blood through his ears.

"Put him on speakerphone." Enjolras grabs for Grantaire when he tries to move away.

Grantaire goes still as Enjolras's fingers wrap around his wrist. His eyes shut and wrinkles carve deep lines across his brow and he lets out a small, wounded breath like Enjolras's touch is painful. A sick sensation lodges itself in the back of Enjolras's throat. He uncurls his fingers slowly, says quietly but forcefully, "Put him on the speaker. Please."

"I fucking hate you," Grantaire says with a glare, then punches the screen of Enjolras's phone and sets it down on the coffee table next to Enjolras's hip. "This is why I didn't want to tell you, because I knew you'd be a judgmental asshole about it."

"What did you take, R?" Joly's voice is even, but there's a thread of tension running through it that puts Enjolras a little at ease. At least he's not alone in his concern over Grantaire's casual drug use.

Grantaire is silent for a long moment. "I don't know."

"Christ, Grantaire--"

"I don't know what it's called! They just said--" He sucks in air through his teeth and presses the heel of his hand against his forehead. "It wasn't supposed to be like this. It's just a party drug."

"Did you overdose?" Joly's voice is tight now, vibrating with worry. "R, tell me right now, or I swear to God I'm going to hang up and call you an ambulance and I'll tell them to use restraints if you're not going to cooperate--"

"No, God, Joly, no hospitals." Grantaire pushes his fingers through his hair, hunching over miserably. "I won't go to the hospital, I refuse. I have the right to refuse medical treatment, don't I?"

"If this is about your pride," Enjolras snaps, and earns himself another glare.

"I didn't OD, I swear I didn't. I only took one pill, and I feel like I'm dying, but it's not that kind of dying, and just-- fuck--" His breathing is going ragged again, his hands jittery. "Enjolras, go away and take your phone with you, I'll ride it out, it can't be much longer now, I'll be fine."

"I'm not going anywhere," Enjolras says at the same time that Joly protests.

"How long, R?"

Grantaire makes a face at the phone. "How long since I took it? Or how long have I been like this?"

"Both."

"Christ. I don't know. I've been like this for hours, at least. I took it maybe an hour before that."

"And it's not getting any better?"

Grantaire grits his teeth and shakes his head.

"You couldn't see it, but that was a no," Enjolras tells Joly.

"R, you have to tell me what you took. You have to," Joly says over his protests. "Don't tell me you don't know, you must know something about it, I know you're not stupid enough to take someting someone handed you without even knowing what it does."

Grantaire's jaw tightens. Enjolras thinks it's another wave of pain, but then Grantaire snatches the phone up off the coffee table. "I'll tell you what I know," he says to Joly, then fixes Enjolras with a look. "You stay right where you are. If you eavesdrop, I'm going to kick you out."

Enjolras hates it, but he holds his hands up in surrender, because the only thing he can tink of that's worse than sitting here, kept in ignorance while Grantaire confides to someone else, is the thought of being pushed out of Grantaire's apartment and having that door locked behind him and knowing nothing at all, not even whether Grantaire's okay or not.

The minutes are interminable. They feel endless. Enjolras fishes Grantaire's phone out of the couch cushions and uses it to pull up WebMD. He looks up Grantaire's symptoms and finds nothing reassuring. He googles drug reactions and symptoms of overdose and throws the phone away from him moments later with unsteady hands and a renewed desire to break down Grantaire's door and haul him off to a hospital.

Finally, Grantaire comes out and gives Enjolras's phone back to him. "He wants to talk to you." Enjolras's fingers brush his as he takes the phone, and Grantaire shudders and pulls away.

Enjolras presses the phone to his ear. "Tell me."

"It's some sort of sexual stimulant." Joly is brisk and efficient once more. "I've never heard of it -- hell, the internet has barely heard of it, I googled the name and got less than a full page of results -- but that's what he says. That he took it because he was promised it would deliver sexual gratification."

"Is it dangerous?"

"I can't say. It hasn't killed him yet, which is encouraging. But he says the symptoms haven't abated, either, which is troubling."

"Do I need to take him to the hospital?"

"No!" Grantaire shouts from the couch.

Joly sighs in his ear. "I don't know. If it's just going to get him riled up, maybe not. Not yet. Will you stay and keep an eye on him? If he gets any worse, or if he doesn't get any better in a few hours, then take him, and damn his protests."

Enjolras nods, his fingers wrapped tight around the phone. "I will, of course."

"Keep a close eye on him, Enjolras. Even if the drug itself doesn't pose any further danger, this is going to take a toll on his body and he could fight off the drug only to succumb to exhaustion."

"I will," Enjolras promises. "I'll call you if anything changes. Thank you, Joly."

They disconnect. Enjolras sets the phone down beside him and looks at Grantaire, sprawled again across the couch and looking as miserable as ever. "What were you thinking?"

Grantaire rolls his head enough to give him a feeble glare. "If you're going to be judgey, you can leave."

"I'm not going anywhere." Enjolras takes a breath and fights the urge to wring his neck. "All this, just to have an orgasm? Was it worth it?"

Grantaire hisses and struggles upright. "It wasn't because I wanted to get off. It was--" He stops himself and swallows. His gaze slides sideways. "I can manage that well enough without any sort of assistance. It's been distracting. I was told the drug would provide satisfaction, that it would relieve my... desires. But he was a fucking liar, because all it's done is inflame them." He drops down again with a heavy sigh. "And of course, it's you who comes to check up on me. Just my luck."

Enjolras doesn't mean to make a face, but he must, because Grantaire takes one look at him and groans like he's unbearable. "Have you tried relieving it yourself?"

"No, the thought never occurred to me." Grantaire gives a sharp sigh. "I know it's a stretch for you, but could you maybe try to give me the benefit of the doubt? I've tried everything obvious. Pretty much nothing helps, not for long." He leans his head back against the couch cushions again, his shoulders slumping. He looks haggard and run down, and Joly's warning rings loud in Enjolras's mind.

"Pretty much?"

Grantaire cracks open an eye and looks at him without lifting his head. "Pardon?"

"You said pretty much nothing helps."

"Right. So you might as well leave me to suffer it out in peace--"

"Pretty much nothing isn't nothing."

Grantaire shuts his mouth on the rest of what e meant to say. He lifts his head and looks at Enjolras, but he doesn't say anything, and Enjolras doesn't know what that look is supposed to mean.

"Something helped. What was it?"

"Leave it alone, Enjolras. It's nothing."

"If there's something that will help you and you refuse to make use of it, then I'm going to drag you to the hospital and to hell with what you want."

"Oh God." Grantaire's laughter is choked and awful. He lifts his hands to his face like he wants to scrub them over it, but then he just leaves them there, his head in his hands. "You're a bastard, do you know that?"

Enjolras doesn't mind being called names for things he knows are necessary and right, so he doesn't even flinch, just watches Grantaire impassively, waiting for him to make his choice.

A long moment passes, and then Grantaire hisses out a sharp breath and drops is hands. He's grimacing and glaring at Enjolras like he's the devil himself. "You," he snarls. "All right? You helped, when you--" He lifts his hand, twisting it around to show his wrist. Enjolras grabbed it, he remembers. And Grantaire had gone as still as stone, and made a sound Enjolras had thought was discomfort. But he thinks back on it now and thinks it might have just as easily been the sound of sudden, unexpected relief.

Grantaire is still speaking while Enjolras is preoccupied by the revelation. He drags his attention back.

"--so you can just fuck off because it's not as though you're going to actually offer to help, so just go home, Enjolras, I'm sure this will pass eventually."

When he's finished speaking, he drops his gaze. His shoulders are still bent at an exhausted angle and he looks tired, or maybe crestfallen, like he doesn't actually believe the words he's saying.

Enjolras reaches out across the silent space between them and wraps his fingers gently around Grantaire's wrist again. Grantaire stiffens like he's been struck and Enjolras nearly pulls away, but the breath Grantaire releases this time definitely sounds like relief, and he sways forward as though Enjolras's touch is a magnet he can't help but be drawn to.

"What sort of a friend would I be," Enjolras asks quietly, "if I possessed the cure to an ailment and withheld it?"

"It's not a cure." Grantaire sounds strained, like he's trying to convince himself even more than Enjolras. "It's not. It's just relief."

"Even so. My point still stands."

"Enjolras." Grantaire's voice is a breath of sound. He bends his hand, fingers curling down to brush against the edge of Enjolras's palm. "You don't know what you're offering--"

"Oh, spare me." Enjolras pulls away then, angry. "I'm not an idiot, I know very well what I'm offering."

This time, the noise that Grantaire makes sounds like loss. He leans forward, listing after Enjolras, and stares down at his wrist as though he can will Enjolras's touch to return. "I don't want this," he says softly. "Not like this. Not when it's for all the wrong reasons."

"You don't want to go to the hospital, either.

"Fuck you, Apollo," he snarls, suddenly livid. "You don't get to give me an ultimatum to try to push me into this."

"It's not an ultimatum. It's an offer. I'll offer to leave you here, if that's what you want. But I promise you that Joly will call an ambulance the minute he learns that you're still suffering, and I won't stop him. It's not an ultimatum, but it is a choice."

Grantaire shuts his eyes for a long, long moment. Enjolras watches his face. The play of emotions across it is fascinating, little flickers and twitches that Enjolras can't quite read meaning into.

Finally, he seems to come to some decision, his shoulders squaring and his chin lifting. He rises off the couch and turns for the bedroom without a word.

Enjolras follows after him, because he knows Grantaire well enough to know that he'd just kick Enjolras out if he'd decided to turn down his assistance. When Enjolras reaches the doorway, Grantaire is already wrestling his shirt off over his head.

His arms are caught in the sleeves, and the more he fights with it the more caught he seems to be. His arms are trembling and his breath is coming quick and sharp again and it's painful to watch him struggle. Enjolras stills him with a touch on his shoulder, then helps him get the shirt off the rest of the way.

Grantaire's room is a disaster, clothes left haphazard across the carpet and piles of books and clutter everywhere. And they've got bigger things to worry about than tidiness right now, so Enjolras just lets the shirt fall to join the rest of the laundry on the floor and move his hands down to the waist of Grantaire's pants.

Grantaire makes another sharp, pained sound. Enjolras stills, watching his face. Grantaire doesn't tell him to stop, though, so when a moment's passed to give him the opportunity, Enjolras resumes working them open and pushing them down off Grantaire's hips.

Grantaire steps out of them, refusing Enjolras's offered hand of assistance until his foot gets caught in the leg, and then he grimaces and clasps Enjolras's hand to help him keep his balance as he kicks free.

He pushes his boxers down himself, and once he's naked, climbs up onto his bed and braces himself on his hands and knees. "Go on, then." He hangs his head down between his shoulders and turns his face in against his arm. "Everything you need's in the top drawer."

His arms are trembling, and Enjolras doesn't miss the way he fists his hands in the blankets, his knuckles going white, so Enjolras strips his own clothes off quickly and grabs the supplies from the drawer before climbing up onto the bed with Grantaire.

"Lie down, R." He lays a gentle hand on his hip. "You're exhausted. You can barely even hold yourself up. Lie down."

Grantaire gives his head a quick shake, though, and just locks his elbows straight to try to hide the trembling. "No. Like this." His voice is choked and broken. "We'll do it like this, or not at all."

Enjolras represses a sigh. Leave it to Grantaire to make things as difficult as possible. But Grantaire needs this, and Enjolras isn't willing to deny him over such a small thing.

Still, he hesitates, frowning at the curve of Grantaire's back. There's a broad spectrum of options between a hand curled around a wrist and this, Grantaire bared for him and braced for him like he expects Enjolras to take him like a mindless beast. He had thougt to explore that range until they found what i was Grantaire needed for relief from the drug burning through his system. But if this is how Grantaire wants to do this, to go straight to the full act and be done with it... Enjolras won't refuse him.

Still, there's something strangely clinical about doing it like this, kneeling on the bed behind Grantaire and slicking his fingers when they've barely even looked at each other, and haven't shared anything more than the briefest of touches. He supposes it is clinical, the act a treatment for an illness that means no more or less than an antibiotic prescribed for an infection, and swallows down the awkwardness prickling at him.

This isn't about him.

Grantaire is twisting, frowning over his shoulder at Enjolras, and Enjolras recognizes the confusion and impatience in his expression, so he settles him with a hand spread on Grantaire's hip again. He keeps his touch light as he draws it down, over the trembling swell of his glute, leaving faint smears of lube across his skin before he works his touch closer to where Grantaire needs him, the shadowed cleft of his ass, the puckered muscle there that twitches beneath the light weight of Enjolras's touch.

"Oh God," Grantaire groans, and drops down onto his elbows to bury his face in his arms.

"Is this helping? Is this what will bring you relief?"

"Just be done with it, Apollo." Grantaire's words come muffled and strained as he speaks them against his skin. "I'm not going to stop you. You don't need to check in with me every step of the way."

Grantaire might not need it, but Enjolras suspects that he himself does. Still, Grantaire's suffering and he has the power to help him, so he presses his thumb more firmly against Grantaire's entrance and rubs slick circles there. It's not enough pressure to even begin to work him open, just enough to be sure that Grantaire feels it. His shoulders shudder on a wordless breath and his hands twist deeper into the sheets.

Enjolras takes his time there, stroking over the muscle at Grantaire's entrance until he feels it begin to soften and relax beneath his touch, until Grantaire's breathing deepens and quickens and he rocks back with tiny, almost-imperceptible movements every time Enjolras's finger grazes against him.

Only then does he change thumb for index finger and increase the pressure. Grantaire takes him easily, with a hoarse sound and the flutter of his muscle around Enjolras's finger. Enjolras twists it and adds more lube to keep things slick, then works his finger in deeper, into Grantaire.

Grantaire's hard, his stiff dick hanging down between his splayed thighs, and it's a relief because more often than not, the sounds Grantaire makes could be discomfort just as easily as pleasure, and Enjolras is reluctant to ask him again if he's all right, after the way it made Grantaire snap before. But he's hard, and that's a good sign, and it's better when Enjolras curls his finger inside Grantaire and finds the soft shape of his prostate, and Grantaire's hips flex like he's craving some sort of friction to fuck against.

Enjolras is growing hard, too, and that's a relief as well. His cock stirs as he works his finger in a slick glide in and out of Grantaire, an automatic reaction to having another person with him like this, to the warm press of skin and the clench of Grantaire around him and the mismatched cadence of their breath. He's concentrating hard on Grantaire and his responses and it keeps his own desires from overwhelming him, but it's good that he's hard. Grantaire wants him to fuck him, and it will be easier for them both if he doesn't have to work at it to oblige him.

When Grantaire starts rocking back against him again, not subtle movements now but sure, demanding ones, driving himself back onto Enjolras's finger every time he withdraws, Enjolras steadies him with his other hand spread on his flank and starts to work him open around a second finger.

He's liberal with the lube. He's seen Grantaire in enough discomfort for one day, and he can't bear the thought of hurting him when all he wants is to bring him relief. Grantaire doesn't seem to mind, though, not much, except for the way he groans and tightens around Enjolras every time he pauses to add more.

"R," Enjolras breathes when he's added a third finger and Grantaire is stretched tight around him.

"It's good, Apollo, for fuck's sake."

"Is it helping?"

"It's helping."

"More?"

"Enjolras." It's a plaintive whine and a harsh demand all at once, and the sound of his own name, not Apollo or some other sarcastic epithet, makes Enjolras shudder unexpectedly.

Grantaire's ready, he thinks. He's taken three fingers and seems eager for more, so Enjolras slides them out of him and reaches for the condoms and the bottle of lube. His hands are a little unsteady as he rips the packet open and rolls the condom down over his dick, but it's just nerves, it's just the awareness that settles heavy on his shoulders of the responsibility he has here, to make this good for Grantaire, to make this better. He doesn't want to hurt him, but Grantaire still won't look at him, and his responses are careful and restrained. He muffles his sounds against his arm so Enjolras can't quite tell if it's pleasure or discomfort, and the way he shudders and tightens beneath Enjolras is indecipherable.

But that demanding whine was clear enough, and Grantaire's panting and looking back over his shoulder like he wants to know where Enjolras has gone, so Enjolras finishes rolling the condom down and slicks himself with lube. He shuffles forward across the sheets and positions himself behind Grantaire, hands resting light on his waist, his knees pressing against Grantaire's. He brushes his thumb over Grantaire's hole again, just to be sure of his readiness.

Grantaire hums and rocks back against him, and the sound turns to a frustrated rumble when he realizes it's Enjolras's finger and not his cock.

So Enjolras lines himself up, tightens his hands on Grantaire's waist, and bears into him. He doesn't stop until Grantaire's taken all of him, until his hips are pressed in tight against Grantaire's ass and Grantaire's choking on sounds that resolve themselves into a breathy, "Move, damn it, you bastard, move."

Enjolras moves, gliding out until Grantaire's clenched tight around just the head of his cock, fighting against Enjolras's grip on his waist to try to rock back onto him. Enjolras keeps him still and glides back in. He means to keep it steady and careful, but Grantaire is so tight around him, so hot. His control slips and he bottoms out roughly, with the sharp slap of their flesh together that rocks Grantaire forward and drives a harsh sound out of him.

He tries to gentle, to pull himself back. But the impulse is overwhelmed by the tightness of Grantaire around him, the way they move together, the way his shoulders heave and his fingers loosen in the sheets every time Enjolras buries himself in him. It drives him on harder, deeper, until he loses his balance and falls forward, and only keeps Grantaire from taking all his weight by a hand thrown out to catch himself, clenched in the blankets beside Grantaire's.

It's even better like this, Grantaire's back pressed against his chest, sweat sticking their skin together. It's easier to flex and drive into him, to fuck him fast and hard, to wrap an arm around his chest and hold him up against Enjolras, to pull him back into each thrust until he's sobbing every time their hips drive together.

Enjolras feels a slave to his desires, helpless enough in the face of them to wonder at the possibility of a contact high. But then a particularly powerful thrust knocks Grantaire off balance, drives him forward too hard and too fast for him to catch himself and Grantaire's arms go out from under him, he lands on his chest with his face mashed into the bed, his groans muffled by the pillow, and suddenly it's easy to stop, to draw back, to help him up.

He slides out of Grantaire completely. Grantaire's sharp, distressed sound and the frantic look he throws back to Enjolras turn to a different sort of alarm when Enjolras takes hold of him by hip and shoulder and urges him down again, and over, onto his back.

"No, don't." He fights then, wildly, but he's so weak it hardly matters, and that only fuels Enjolras's determination. "Not like this. Not like-- Don't."

Enjolras hushes him, gentles him. "You can't even hold yourself up anymore," he says. "Is this enough? Have we worked the drug out of your system?"

Grantaire's expression twists, and Enjolras knows what his answer will be before he shakes his head, obstinate and angry.

"Then like this is the only way we've got. You can hardly hold yourself up any longer, and I can't hold up the both of us."

Grantaire's expression just twists further. He brings his hands up to cover his face and leaves them there, his shoulders heaving as Enjolras makes room for himself between his thighs and pulls his knees up to tilt his hips up to a better angle.

He leans forward, his hand braced beside Grantaire's shoulder, his body stretched out above him, and fits the head of his cock to his entrance. Grantaire's chest heaves, but he doesn't protest. He doesn't lower his hands, either.

"Close your eyes," Enjolras says, low and close against Grantaire's ear as he sinks into him. "You can imagine I'm whoever it is you'd rather be here with. I don't mind."

"You are so stupid," Grantaire says, chokes out on a sound that's too pained to be laughter.

Enjolras shuts his eyes, leans his forehead against Grantaire's shoulder, and moves in him. "Do what you have to, to make it better for you. But I can't hold you up, and I'm not going to leave you suffering on a point of pride." He slides, easy and deep, and does his best to make it as good for Grantaire as he can, and bring him off as quickly as possible.

The angle's awkward, but with his weight on his knees and one arm, he can reach the other between them and take hold of Grantaire's cock. He's hard still, at least there's that, and when Enjolras wraps still-slick fingers around him and strokes, he makes that same, sharp sound from before and flexes up into his fist.

Enjolras strokes him, and fucks him, and hopes like hell that it's good for him because his own orgasm is barreling down upon him with a suddenness that's startling. He mouths at Grantaire's shoulder, his skin salty from sweat, and drives into him again, and again, rhythmic and demanding.

Grantaire's noises grow louder, from gasps and strangled whines to groaning, growling, digging fingers into the back of Enjolras's neck and swearing when Enjolras sweeps is thumb in relentless circles over the head of Grantaire's cock.

He comes swiftly, when it finally happens, tightening violently beneath Enjolras's weight and gasping, "Fuck, Enjolras, fuck." He stuffs the heel of his hand into his mouth to stifle the rest of his sounds as he comes, spilling hot over Enjolras's hand.

Enjolras has already been fighting off his own orgasm for long moments. When Grantaire spasms around him, tight as a fist, it sends Enjolras over the edge and spiraling down, a shuddering, gasping mess.

He drifts, mindless, and only comes back to himself when Grantaire shifts beneath him, driving an elbow into his waist to get his attention. Enjolras rolls off of him but stays close, still winded and shaken. It takes him too long to return to himself, to remember the purpose behind all of this and ask, "How do you feel?"

Grantaire is silent long enough to be alarming. Enjolras opens his eyes and looks at him, but Grantaire has his face turned sharply away. "I think that did the trick." He sits up and swings his legs off the edge of the bed, his back toward Enjolras. "I owe you a thank you, I suppose."

"You don't owe me anything." Enjolras reaches out and catches him by the arm when he seems inclined to rise off the bed.

Grantaire looks down at Enjolras's fingers wrapped around him. Enjolras's skin prickles, but he doesn't release him, not yet. "I really think I do."

"I did for you what I'd have done for any friend in need." He means it, but as soon as the words are spoken he hesitates, frowning. The words feel false on tongue, something whispering in the dark corners of his mind, no, that's wrong, that's a lie. Before he can figure out the cause for it, though, Grantaire turns back to look at him, one brow raised high.

"Really." His voice drips wit skepticism. "You'd have done that for any of our friends? For Courfeyrac or Combeferre, if they were the sort to do anything so stupid? For Marius, even?"

Enjolras can't help his grimace at that. He's not sure what reaction he expects from Grantaire -- vindication, maybe, at having himself proved right -- but instead Grantaire looks uncertain, and then unhappy. He frowns and turns away again, and Enjolras readies to grab him once more, but he doesn't leave, just sits hunched over with his hands wrapped around the edge of the mattress.

"What is it?" Enjolras asks when he's stayed like that long enough to be worrying. He struggles upright, but hesitates to reach out to him. "Is it the drug still?"

The question startles humorless laughter out of Grantaire. "No. It's not that." He drags a hand over his face. When he speaks again, his voice is hushed, nearly a whisper. "Who were you thinking about?"

"What?"

Grantaire squares his shoulder, but he still doesn't turn around. "You told me to think about the person I'd have rather been with. Who were you thinking about?" He makes a harsh sound. "It's all right, Apollo, I don't mind, I hardly have the right to begrudge you anything. I'm just curious who the lucky man is."

"I wasn't thinking about anyone but you," Enjolras says to his back, surprised.

Grantaire stiffens and goes silent again. "Thank you, Apollo," he says at last, and rises to start gathering his clothes from the floor.

Enjolras sighs and leans his back against the headboard. "We're back to that, are we? I liked it better when you called me by my name."

And Grantaire freezes again. He turns back slowly, frowning, and just looks at Enjolras for a long moment. "I really don't understand you at all."

"What's to understand?" He feels like squirming beneath the weight of Grantaire's gaze, and it's an unfamiliar sensation.

"You can't tell me you'd have done this for anyone, I know you well enough to tell when you're lying."

Enjolras's jaw tightens, but he doesn't deny it. It's true, of everyone in their group, Grantaire has always been the one with the ability to unfailingly call Enjolras on his bullshit. "I'm sorry," he says instead. It's a blatant attempt to change the topic, but he can't even find it in himself to be embarrassed. "I think I owe you that, at the very least."

"Why on earth would you think that?"

"As far as consent goes, that was questionable at best."

Grantaire runs his tongue over his lips and stares at Enjolras for a moment. "I consented. I consented pretty explicitly."

"You were drugged."

"God, Apollo-- Enjolras." He passes a hand over his face, then finishes gathering his clothes and pulls his pants on with quick, choppy motions. "I'm not going to argue with you about this. I refuse. If you haven't figured out by now that I'm more than a little in love with you, then I don't know what to tell you."

Enjolras is off the bed before he's even registered the decision to move, striding across the room and grabbing Grantaire by the arm to pull him around. "What?"

"So you really don't have to worry about consent."

"Being in love with someone doesn't imply consent and Grantaire, what?"

Grantaire pulls out of Enjolras's grip -- he's already regaining his strength -- and turns sharply. "Thank you for your help. You can go now. I'll be fine."

"R."

"Please just go, Apollo. If you care about my consent at all, then please go."

There's nothing Enjolras can really do in response to that but obey. He dresses quickly and leaves, and Grantaire doesn't say another word to him, so he doesn't speak, either.

 

#

The last thing he expects, all things considered, is for Grantaire to show up at their next meeting. He does, though, walking into the back room of the Musain like there's nothing unusual about him being there at all. No one else acts like it's out of the ordinary either, except Joly, who doesn't know the whole story but knows enough to send Enjolras a questioning glance.

Enjolras ignores them both. He has a meeting to run. When everyone's gathered, he stands before them all and gives his speech, as he always done. When he's finished, the rest of their friends engage him in discussion and debate, as they've always done. Grantaire drinks in the back, as he always does. If it seems that he perhaps drinks rather more than usual, Enjolras doesn't suppose he'd welcome Enjolras making comment on it.

When the meeting draws to a close and everyone else says their good-byes and shuffles out, Grantaire is the only one left behind, slumped forward with his head on the desk. Sleeping? Or passed out? Enjolras can't be sure, and he doesn't think Grantaire will thank him for waking him up, but he can't help the way concern draws him to the back of the room, to sink down into the empty chair at Grantaire's table and watch the quiet rise and fall of his shoulders.

Grantaire snorts and rouses as though Enjolras's regard alone has woken him. He scrubs his hands over his eyes and frowns around the emptied room. Finally, his attention focuses on Enjolras. "Apollo?" His eyes are red-rimmed. It's drink, not sleep, and Enjolras can't imagine what else would have driven him to such excess but the encounter between them.

"I didn't think about anyone else," Enjolras says quietly.

Grantaire frowns and pulls away, his shoulders gone tense, his expression guarded and unhappy.

"There wasn't anyone to think about but you."

Grantaire sighs. "Apollo…"

"I think you're right. I don't think I'd have done that for anyone else. I don't know what to make of that, but I know it's the truth."

Grantaire stares at him, the walls he's pulled up falling away, leaving him open, his eyes soft and bewildered and fuzzy from the alcohol.

Enjolras doesn't know what else to say. He doesn't have any answers, no promises, nothing but the truth he's already given. He lays his hand on the table between them, palm up. He watches Grantaire, and waits.

For a moment, Grantaire does nothing but breathe, in and out, deep and careful. Slowly, so slowly, he lifts his hand from his lap and lays it in Enjolras. When Enjolras clasps it, he lets out his breath on a rush and slumps like a marionette with cut strings.

"I don't know what to make of it either," Grantaire says quietly, like a confession.

"We can figure it out together."

And that, at last, makes Grantaire smile, the first Enjolras has seen from him in days, bright and hopeful and so happy there's nothing Enjolras can do but lean across the table and kiss him.