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Forever Was In His Eyes

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July 2032, Valjean's 73rd   Birthday Party

Grantaire sat on the couch in Valjean's house, surrounded by all of his friends and family. They were all there to celebrate his father-in-law's 73rd birthday. He looked around the room and felt saddened because Enjolras should be there, but he wasn't there. He hadn't been for 17 years.

Cosette placed a hand on his shoulder to shake him out of his trance. Grantaire looked up at her, knowing that she knew exactly what he was thinking and he gave her a soft smile. He turned his attention back to Joly's story about the kid who needed a shot, but ended up throwing a temper tantrum and bit Joly's finger. It had been funny when he first heard it, but now after the 12th time hearing it, it really wasn't anymore.

Joly's story had been almost finished when Grantaire's six-year old nephew, Stefan, and four-year old niece, Catherine, ran into the room holding a picture, their shouting interrupting Joly. They ran to Grantaire and held the picture up.

"'Aire! Who is this?" Stefan asked.  Grantaire took the picture from the little boy and saw that it was a picture that Cosette had taken a few weeks before Enjolras died. In the picture, Enjolras was lying on the couch with his head in Grantaire's lap.

"That is Enjolras. You're mother's brother and someone who had - is very special to me."

"What happened to him?" Catherine asked.

Grantaire smiled sadly, "He had been very sick and the doctor's couldn't make it better, so he ended up dying."

"But he's too pretty to die." The little girl said, looking at the picture.

Grantaire looked down as well, and yes, Enjolras had been beautiful, despite him being very pale and very weak. His blond curls had lost their shine, his cheeks had hallowed out, his blue eyes had faded to look more gray than blue, and there were shadows underneath his eyes, but he was still beautiful. Enjolras had always been beautiful to Grantaire, no matter what he looked like.

"Yes, he was. How about a story?" The children looked up at him excitedly and nodded. Grantaire looked around the room and saw the worried looks of his friends and Valjean, silently asking him if he could do this. He nodded slightly and turned to face his niece and nephew.

"In the year 2014, I was 18. I was a senior at the high school here in Haven. I was popular, but school didn't mean anything to me...

September 2014

I didn't care about grades, graduating, or rules. All that mattered to me was that I maintained my popularity. I was cynical, aimless, and rebellious. The story begins the Monday after the homecoming game. I had been called to Principal Javert's office for graffiti on school walls.

Grantaire sat in Principal Javert's office, waiting for him to come into the room. The lunch bell just rang and if Javert didn't get there soon, he would miss his favorite time of the day. He heard the door open behind him and Javert walked in. He sat down at his desk as they glared at each other. This wasn't the first time Grantaire had been called to the office and it certainly would not be the last.

They stared at each for a few minutes before Javert finally broke the silence.

"I have it on good authority that you were caught spray painting the outside walls of the school during the game on Friday night. It was too dark for the security cameras to catch anything, but when you leave a cursive "R" on the bottom of a painting, it's pretty easy to figure out who the culprit is."

Grantaire sat in the chair, unamused. He just rested his head on his hand and gave a sly smile. "So, what you're going to expel me?"

"Not today," Javert glares at him. "Instead of expulsion for your punishment, I've decided that you will have to wash off the paint from the walls that you used as a canvas, help the janitors after school, and you have to participate in the drama club's first performance." Javert named off the list.

"The fall musical?" Grantaire looked at him with disbelief.

Javert nodded, "You have just started your last year of high school, Nicolas. It's time for you to spend time with other kinds of people. You're dismissed."

Grantaire rolled his eyes before he grabbed his backpack and stood up to leave the office, but Javert called to him before he could walk out the door.

"This is your last chance. Don't blow it."

Grantaire walked out of the office. He walked to his locker and threw his bag inside before he headed in the direction of the cafeteria. When he got there, all the good food was gone, so he was stuck with the disgusting mystery meat. Once he got his tray, he walked in the direction of the table he usually sat at, where all of his friends were already sitting. His best friend, Joly, is the first one to notice him.

"So, tell us all about it? Did he cream you?"

"No, all he really did was tell me that he knew it was me and that I won't be expelled as long as I wash the graffiti off the walls, help the janitors after school, and participate in the fucking fall musical." Grantaire told his friends.

Bahorel snickered. "Wow! Some punishment. Javert's going soft."

"I really just wish this year would go fast so we can get out of this hellhole." Eponine, Bahorel and Feuilly's girlfriend said.

Bahorel put his arm around her. "Oh, don't worry, babe, it will. Then, we can do whatever we want." He then pulled her in for an open-mouthed kiss causing the rest of the group to groan in disgust and Eponine to flip them the finger.

They pulled away from each other when Bossuet smacked them upside the heads. The group of friends got back to eating until Feuilly noticed something over Joly's shoulder.

"Oh, and look, here he comes. The school's most prized student."

Grantaire turned to look at what Feuilly was talking about and saw Julien Enjolras, a straight A student, LGBT+ rights activist (who just happened to be gay himself), Cosette's older brother, and Pastor Jean Valjean's son, walk in. His hands in the pockets of his red sweatshirt and his backpack swung over both shoulders. Enjolras walked towards a table in the back that was occupied by only three people. Combeferre, Courfeyrac, and Jehan, Courfeyrac's boyfriend. The four men sitting at that table were considered the school's outcasts because they all got straight A's and were at the top of the class.

Grantaire looked from Enjolras to where his sister, Cosette, who was sitting with a few students that Grantaire recognized as part of the drama club. Cosette was not so much of an outcast. She was very well liked by everybody, especially by Marius Pontmercy, who had been chasing after her since she started high school. They were dating now, but nobody would ever forget the tale of Marius asking Cosette to the homecoming dance when she was a freshman. He had gotten so nervous and ended up tripping and landed right into a pile of mud. Cosette had found it endearing and said yes and they have been together ever since.

He was pulled out of thoughts when he heard Eponine's voice.

"Doesn't he own a different sweatshirt? I swear, he's worn the same one every day since the second grade. Isn't it time to, I don't know, get another one."

The group all started to laugh at Eponine's comment before they all turned back to their lunch. Not one of them noticing that Enjolras was looking in their direction. More specifically in Grantaire's.  

***

After school, Grantaire started washing off the paint from his graffiti masterpiece. As he scrubbed, he heard shouting over the sound of the blaring music coming from his earphones. He turned and saw Enjolras standing on one of the picnic tables, with Combeferre, Courfeyrac, and Jehan all on the ground with flyers in their hands.

Enjolras started his speech about LGBT+ youth suicide and how it needed to be prevented. As Grantaire listened, he made note that Enjolras was a very good public speaker. He knows how to keep everything nice and consistent, his points make you think, and you can tell that he's very passionate about it. The only downside was that he was far too naïve and idealistic. He thought that the world would change if there was enough people who want it to change. Grantaire disagreed, though. There were more people who didn't want it to change than there were people who did. The world would always be cruel and hateful.

He listened for a few moments until Enjolras saw him and their eyes met. Grantaire turned back toward the wall, but could still feel the blonde's eyes burning into the back of his skull. He rolled his eyes and continued with the scrubbing. Ignoring everybody around him.

***

The next week, rehearsals began for the musical. Miss Adrian, the drama teacher, had the students sit around in a circle before she passed out the scripts. The drama club only had 40 students, 12 of those students were to be part of the crew and the other 28 students were dedicated cast members. Four of those dedicated cast members were Enjolras, Courfeyrac, Jehan, and Cosette. Combeferre had done the honors of writing the musical's story, lyrics, and music.

Miss Adrian had just begun explaining the musical when Grantaire came strolling in 10 minutes late.

"Oh, yes, Mr. Grantaire. How nice of you to join us? I hope that I can trust that you will be on time from now on." Miss Adrian said as Grantaire rolled his eyes. "Please, take a seat."

Grantaire took the last empty chair and let his head fall against the wall. Ignoring the glares for his interruption.

"Okay, now. Dancing in the Moonlight, with words and music written by our very own Combeferre. The story centers on the life of Killian, an up and coming musician, who has been keeping a secret. He's gay. It follows him on his rise to fame and the difficult choice of choosing between love and music after he falls in love with Jason, an openly gay man that Killian meets in a coffee shop and shows him that there's more to life than just music," Miss Adrian finished explaining. "Now, let's find out the cast. Mikayla, you'll be playing the part of Alicia, Killian's best friend and the one person he confides everything to."

Mikayla, a petite girl with short red hair, smiled and did a little cheer as everyone else applauded.

"Now, Enjolras will be our Jason, and Grantaire, you'll be our Killian."

Grantaire's eyes snapped open at the sound of his name, "What? No, no, not happening."

"Is there a problem, Mr. Grantaire?" Miss Adrian asked.

"Yes," Grantaire said, "I didn't plan on acting in this play."

Miss Adrian shrugged, "I'm sure you didn't, but I had strict directions from Principal Javert to have you on the stage, not behind. Moving along," Miss Adrian continued signing out the parts. Grantaire shook his head, but didn't say anything else.

Miss Adrian stood up and with Combeferre's help passed out the script booklets. Once everyone had their scripts, she instructed them to turn to page one and they could began the read-through.

***

"Killian, I love you and you're my best friend, but I swear sometimes you are an idiot. You're falling in love with him." Mikayla read the part of Alicia.

They were about three fourths done with the reading of Act 1. In the scene, Killian was at Alicia's house, telling her that he was developing feelings for Jason and how that is going to screw up his music career. Alicia calls him an idiot and that he deserves to be happy.

"I can't be. Falling in love was never supposed to be a part of the equation. Jason deserves the world. I can't give him that." Grantaire read, but in a very monotone voice. He hated this. He wasn't an actor. Never was and never will be.

Miss Adrian sighed and said. "Mr. Grantaire, are you trying to be bad at this?"

"Nope, it just comes naturally." Grantaire said, looking up from the script and putting on his most charming smile. 

Everyone in the room giggled, except for Miss Adrian, Enjolras, Combeferre, Courfeyrac, Jehan, and Cosette.

"Alright, everyone let's take a 10-minute break. After that, we'll come back and finish reading." Miss Adrian said.

An hour and a half later, they were done with the read through and Miss Adrian had passed out the rehearsal schedules. As the rest of the drama students mingled amongst each other, Grantaire waited by the window to watch for Bahorel's car. Enjolras noticed Grantaire and walked over to him before crossing his arms.

"So, would it kill you to try?" Enjolras asked.

"Yup, and I'm too young to die."

Enjolras rolled his eyes and said, "So you don't care about your grades or graduating, but you like school because you're popular and you'll never be on top again, right?"

Grantaire turned to look at him. "That is all very predictable."

Enjolras leaned in closer and whispered to him. "Let me tell you a secret. Your act only works on an audience." He then turned on his heels and headed toward the door.

Grantaire watched him leave before turning back to the window. It soon becomes clear that Bahorel isn't going to come. Probably because he's too busy having a fucking threesome with Eponine and Feuilly. He thought with a shiver of disgust. He quickly ran toward the door to catch up with Enjolras. When he reached Enjolras, he could see that the blonde man was holding back a smirk.

"By any chance, do you think you could give me a lift home? Mine is getting fixed." Grantaire said.

"Fine. Follow me."

They head outside and walk to Enjolras' car. Neither one of them saying a word. Once they got to the car, Grantaire walked around to the passenger side. Enjolras opened the back door and threw his backpack inside. He was closing the door when someone called out to him. He turned around to see Mikayla.

Grantaire turned in the passenger seat and saw Enjolras and Mikayla talking. He rolled his eyes and turned back to rest his head on the head rest. He was looking at the dashboard of the car when a piece of paper popped out at him. Not able to fight his curiosity, Grantaire leaned forward to grab the piece of paper. He unfolded it and at the top it read: Goals for My Life. It was a list of 25 things. All of them had goals, except for number one. Some goals on the list were:

#19: Get a tattoo

#10: Study abroad in Paris

#5: Adopt a puppy

All of sudden the list was ripped from his hands. Grantaire turned his head and saw that Enjolras was now in the car. He folded the piece of paper back up. Enjolras then placed it under his leg.

"That list is for no one's eyes, but my own." Enjolras growled

"Aren't you a little young to have a bucket list? You're only what? 17?"" Grantaire commented.

"Yes, but it's never too soon to start," Enjolras turned to grab his seat belt and turn on the car, but before he goes anywhere, he told Grantaire. "This car isn't going anywhere until you have your seat belt on."

 Grantaire rolled his eyes and reluctantly put on his seat belt and Enjolras started driving.

***

When they pulled up in front of Grantaire's house, Enjolras put the car in park and Grantaire got out, but not before asking.

"So, what's number one?"

Enjolras turned to him to say, "I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you."

Grantaire nodded, "Fair enough." And closed the door.

He walked around the car to the sidewalk as Enjolras drove away.

***

Grantaire stood on the porch of his house with his script book in his hand. Joly sat on the porch swing with Bossuet at the table, an extra script book in this hand. All they could do was laugh though. Grantaire knew he wasn't cut out for the stage, but the least he could do was try his best.

"When we met at the coffee shop, I don't know what it was, but something just clicked. There was just something about you that was telling me I had to know you." Grantaire read, only to cause Joly and Bossuet to burst out laughing. He really should've known better than to ask these two for help.

"Is that what's really written in that script?" Joly asked.

"Yes," Grantaire replied, "Can you guys focus, please? I only have six weeks to memorize this stuff."

"R, you couldn't pull this off if you had six fucking months." Bossuet told him, throwing the book on the table.

Grantaire just glared at his friends. Joly stood up from the porch swing to stand in front of his friend. He placed his hand on Grantaire's shoulder.

"You know that 'Suet and I will be there opening night, sitting in the front row. Cheering you on." Joly told him.

"But with tomatoes." Bossuet added.

Grantaire gave them a sarcastic smile, "Thanks, guys. You're the best friends a guy could ask for."

He opened the book to the page that he had marked and started reading from where he left off. His friends did their best not to laugh, but it was clear they were struggling. Grantaire eventually gave up and decided it was time to ask someone else to help. He just didn't know if he had the guts to ask the person he had in mind.

***

The next day at school, Grantaire was strolling through an empty hallway minus the one person that he needed to talk to. He couldn't believe he was about to do this, but he needed help on that stupid script or else the musical would blow. It needed to be good, and he was going to make sure that it was. Enjolras was standing next to his locker, looking at what more than likely was a textbook. Grantaire took a deep breath before walking towards him.

Enjolras turned around, only to roll his eyes when he saw who it was. He turned back to look at the textbook. "What do you want Grantaire? I've known you for years and you've never been the first one to say hello."

"Um...I need help with my lines." Grantaire could feel the blood rushing to his face as he asked this question.

Enjolras grabbed the books he needed for his next class, one of those was the book he was looking at when Grantaire first walked up to him. He turned to look at Grantaire.

"Nicolas Grantaire is asking me for help," Enjolras said in disbelief. He stared down Grantaire until he nodded. "Okay. I'll ask my father to pray for you." he said before closing his locker and walking away. Grantaire chased after him.

"Enjolras-"

"You've clearly never asked anyone for help have you?" Grantaire shook his head. "A request like yours requires more than just a simple ask. It requires a little bit groveling, maybe a little flattery. Above all, it can't be simply for you. It has to be for the good of everyone involved."

"It is for everyone involved," Grantaire told him. Enjolras raised an eyebrow. "This is Combeferre's musical and it deserves the best actors it can have. I may have thought it was ridiculous at first, but now that I've read the whole thing. Multiple times. Maybe it's not as bad as I thought. Please, Enjolras."

Enjolras looked him in the eye causing Grantaire to feel uncomfortable. It felt as if the blonde was seeing right through him. Whatever he was looking for, he must have found it because he gave a hint of a smile.

"Fine, I'll help you. On one condition, Grantaire."

"And that is?"

"You have to promise that you won't fall in love with me."

Grantaire tried to hold back his laugh, he really did, but failed miserably. He laughed loudly because that was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard. In what world would he fall in love with the town pastor's son? When he saw that Enjolras had a very serious look on his face, he stopped laughing.

"That won' t be a problem." Grantaire promised.

Enjolras nodded, "Good. I'll see you this afternoon after school."

As he walked away, Grantaire agreed before turning back to walk down the other way of the hallway.

***

Enjolras was in the kitchen of his house, making dinner with Cosette. Jean Valjean was in the kitchen with them too. It had just been the three of them ever since their mother, Fantine, died of heart failure when Enjolras was six and Cosette was four. Ever since, Valjean had become extremely protective of both of them. It was frustrating, but they both understood that losing their mother had taken a toll on their father and that the only thing keeping him from shutting down was his children.

Their father had been going off on a rant about Grantaire ever since Enjolras told him that he was coming over. Enjolras knew that Valjean didn't like Grantaire, but he had seen the desperation in his eyes when he asked for help. He just couldn't resist those gorgeous, and dangerous, forest green eyes.

"Nicolas Grantaire is coming here. That boy is dangerous and careless. Not to mention, the worst kind of bully." Valjean said as he grabbed napkins to place on the table.

Enjolras was stirring a pot of noodles for the macaroni salad at the stove. Cosette stood next to him, making the rest of the salad. When he lifted a noodle out of the pot to check the tenderness, Cosette grabbed it, stuck it into her mouth first, and gave a thumbs up. Enjolras smiled at his sister as he turned off the stove. He carried the pot of noodles to the sink to dump into the strainer.

"But, dad, what about forgiveness?" Enjolras asked as he poured out the noodles and water. "I thought we had discussed that I was going to decide how I wanted to spend my time and my life."

Valjean turned to his son and said, "Yeah, well, it's him, I don't trust. Not you."

Enjolras poured the noodles back into the pot. He was bringing the pot over to Cosette to put in the rest of the salad when the doorbell rang, signaling Grantaire's arrival.

"Cosette, you can finish up, right?"

"Yeah, no problem. You go and have fun." Cosette said with a glint of playfulness in her eyes which caused her brother to roll his eyes as he wiped his hands on the towel that was hanging from the handle of the stove.

Enjolras went to open the door to welcome Grantaire inside the house. He closed the door before heading upstairs. "My script is in my room, so I'll be right back."

Grantaire nodded as he started to look around the room. He walked further into the living room and saw pictures on the mantle of fireplace. He took a quick glance at them. There were mostly of Enjolras and Cosette as children. There were a few of Valjean and a woman, who Grantaire knew was Enjolras' mother. When he's done looking at the pictures, he noticed that Cosette was standing in the doorway. She gave him a small "hi" before turning and going back into the kitchen.

Enjolras came back down. "You ready?"

"Yeah."

He followed Enjolras out onto the patio in the backyard. They sat on the patio chairs and got right to work.

"Which part of the play are you having the most trouble with?" Enjolras asked him.

"It's not the story line. That is perfectly fine. Killian is a musician who is gay, he falls in love which forces him to make the decision between love and career. That I get. It's everything else. Acting has never been my sort of thing. I can't put the emotions and the words together. It's that kind of stuff."

"Clearly," Enjolras commented, "So, what is your thing? And don't say being popular or any of that kind of crap. I mean, seriously, what is something that if you had to choose you couldn't live without what would it be?"

Grantaire had to think about for a minute. There wasn't much that he could think of that wasn't his popularity. He started going through his years of school and what he had been into. There hadn't been much. Basketball, soccer, softball, a little bit of boxing, a small portion of dancing, art. Then, it had hit him. Art.

From ages 7-15, everywhere he went he had carried around a sketchbook, just in case something caught his eye. He used to think that one day he could be a professional artist until he started hanging around with Bahorel, Eponine, and Feuilly. His love for art just kind of fizzled out, after that. Obviously, he still did graffiti for that's what got him into this in the first place. Grantaire hadn't touched a sketchbook in over two years.

He looked at Enjolras, who was looking at him, patiently. "Art. I used to love art. Painting, drawing, oils, water colors. You name it. I used to love it. I gave it up a long time."

"Okay, well, when you think of how you used to love it, how does it make you feel? Emotional wise?" Enjolras asked him.

Grantaire thought about it again. "Happy, mostly. At the time, I felt like it was something that I couldn't live without. I'm sorry, but what does this have to do with anything?"

"That feeling that you have of not being able to live without art. That is how Killian is supposed to feel when it comes to his music. His music is everything to him because after his dad abandoned him that was all he had. He had his guitar and his music sheets, plus a backpack of clothes. That was all. Music is all he cared about until he met Jason. When they meet, it's supposed to be clear to them that they have this very intense connection, but the world has no idea what Killian's true sexuality is. The fear of losing his career and fans is deeply rooted in Killian because of his fear of abandonment, but so is his deep, passionate love for Jason. These are two things that he loves very much, but can't have one without losing the other." Enjolras explained, "I asked if there was something you couldn't live without because when you are acting it out, project those feelings that you have for art onto what Killian's feelings toward music are and think of it as having to choose between love and art, not love and music. Does that make sense?" Enjolras looked at Grantaire and saw that it was starting to finally click together.

"Yes. It makes 10 times more sense than it did at 8:15 this morning," Grantaire said, "But what about the lines and the emotion coming together?"

"That will start to become easier with time. Now, that you have a general idea of how Killian is supposed to feel, just let those feelings erupt inside of you, read the lines through a few times with those feelings inside of you, and soon it will come together. You'll start to see where you have to have a lot of emotion and where you don't." Enjolras explained as Grantaire nodded, "Acting can be tough. You just need to remind yourself that when you're onstage, you are not Grantaire, you are playing a character that you created. Someone wrote what you have to say, but you create what they feel and how they act."

"Okay, so what feelings do you use to get into Jason's character?" Grantaire asked, out of genuine curiosity.

Enjolras didn't say anything for a while before saying. "I don't really like sharing my creative process."

"What he means is that he takes his acting very seriously and hates to talk about it until he's got everything down to a science." Cosette said as she came out with a tray of cookies and two glasses of milk.

"Shut up, Cosette."

Cosette stuck her tongue out at her brother before walking back into the house. Grantaire grabbed a cookie and took a bite from it. He realized that they were chocolate chip peanut butter cookies and they were to die for. They practically melted in your mouth.

"These are delicious."

Enjolras took one and smiled, "Thanks. Cosette and I made them from my mother's recipe."

Grantaire noticed the sad look Enjolras got in his eyes at the mention of his mother. "I'm sorry about your mother, Enjolras."

"Thank you, Grantaire, but please don't pretend that you actually care about me or know anything about me."

"I do know you, though. We've had all the same classes in the same school since kindergarten. Why you're Julien Enjolras. You and your three friends sit at lunch table 32, which isn't really the reject table, but definitely in self-exile territory. You have exactly one red sweatshirt and your hands are always in the pockets when you walk. Oh, oh, and yeah, for fun, you stand on picnic tables trying to rally people to your next cause. Now, how does that sound?" Grantaire asked.

Enjolras looked at him. Grantaire swore he saw a flash of hurt before it was gone in a millisecond. "Thoroughly predictable. It's nothing I haven't heard before."

"You don't care what people think of you?"

"No." Enjolras took another cookie and opened his script book. "Should we actually read some of it now?"

***

A few days later at school, Grantaire is standing at his locker, surrounded by all of his friends. Feuilly had made a joke and they were all laughing when Bahorel noticed that Enjolras was walking towards them. He elbowed Grantaire causing him to turn his head, just as Enjolras was reaching them.

"Hey, Grantaire. So, I'll see you after school?" Enjolras asked.

Grantaire smiled, charmingly, "Only in your dreams."

His friends laughed. Grantaire was too busy keeping his smile to notice the look of absolute disappointment on Enjolras' face before he nodded and walked away. Afterward, Grantaire felt like a complete ass and knew that he needed to apologize to Enjolras.

***

Later that day during free period, Grantaire made his way to the library because that's where he knew Enjolras would be. When he got to the library and opened the door, the look of pure shock on the librarian's face was almost laughable. He ignored her as he started looking for Enjolras.

He found him in the aisle of French history, sitting on the floor. Textbook in front of him, notebook on his lap, and pencil in hand. Grantaire walked down the aisle before he sat down across from him. Enjolras looked up at him before he gave him a cold glare and turned back to his homework.

"Go away, Grantaire."

Grantaire ignored the request and said, "Listen, I'm sorry for what I said. I was really hoping that we could run lines together."

Enjolras looked up at him and nodded, "Oh, okay, but just so nobody knows right?" He said, sarcastically.

"Well, I figured we could just surprise everyone with how good I get." Grantaire explained with a smile.

"Oh, so we could be secret friends?" Enjolras smiled back, deciding to play along.

Grantaire smile grew wider. "Exactly! It's like you're reading my mind."

Enjolras' bright smile disappeared back into a frown and cold stare. "Great...so then, maybe you could read mine," His glare grew even colder - if that was even possible - and turned back to his homework. "You can leave the way you entered."

"Enjolras, come on, I can't just be your friend."

Enjolras turned back to look at him. "Look, I thought I saw something in you. Something good, but I guess, I was very, very wrong."

Grantaire rolled his eyes. "I don't know if you've noticed, but I have a reputation to protect."

"I know. Believe me, I know, but there also comes a time when you have to realize that there are somethings much more important than maintaining popularity. Like people's actual real feelings. Feelings that are not meant to be played with like the game you and your merry band of friends think they are," Enjolras told him, "And trust me, I never expected to become your friend. That was the last thing on my mind. I just wanted to help you, so that my best friend's musical would be great, but you threw that help back in my face at the first chance you got. So, if that's how you're going to treat it, then no, Grantaire, I'm not going to run lines with you. You can figure the rest of the damn thing out for yourself." He finished. Slamming his books shut in the process.

He threw his books in his backpack. Enjolras then stood up to walk away. Grantaire stared after him, feeling worse than he did before he came.

"Damn it!" He yelled, throwing his script book at the shelf of books across from him. The librarian came around the corner of the aisle to glare at him. "Sorry."

He stood up, walked down the aisle, and out of the library. Left to figure out the play for himself.

***

In the weeks leading up to the musical, I started to learn anything and everything I could about Enjolras. I learned about his plans for the future. How passionate he was for almost everything, specifically his hope for a better and kinder world. How much he cared for everything in his life and treated it like it was something precious. I didn't learn everything from Enjolras himself because he still wasn't speaking to me, but I was okay with it because I had deserved it. I learned most of what I knew by observing and listening. I realized that as I learned more about him, Enjolras didn't deserve the title of outcast or the teasing he received from my friends. He quickly became one of the best people that I knew. There was once thing I learned by flipping through the previous years yearbook that I will never forget.

One night, Grantaire sat in his bedroom, flipping through the pages of the yearbook from the previous year. He finally found the page he was looking for. His eyes searched for Enjolras. Grantaire finally found him. He read the list of extra-curricular activities that he was involved, which was almost everything. Enjolras being involved in everything possible wasn't what made Grantaire curious, though. It was what was written as his ambition. Enjolras' ambition was to witness a miracle.

One day during rehearsal, a few students were talking about how they were reading To Kill a Mockingbird in English class. Enjolras perked up at the mention of the title, but didn't interrupt the conversation instead he turned to Combeferre, Courfeyrac, and Jehan and from what Grantaire had heard he told them that he would love to read that book again, but didn't own his own copy. He's been looking for it whenever he goes to the store, but every time he's there it's either out of stock or just not a part of the book list that the store carries. Grantaire takes that little information and puts it in the back of his mind for future reference.

The only thing that scared Grantaire was that the more he learned about Enjolras, the more he felt himself falling for him.  When he first realized it, he swore to himself that it was just his mind playing tricks on him. That was until they had to rehearse the first kiss between Killian and Jason and playing a role or not, the moment their lips touched, Grantaire felt a jolt of electricity sweep through him. In that little brief thirty second touch of lips, Grantaire knew that he was starting to fall in love with his leading man.

What made it so strange was that Enjolras was not his type in any way, shape or form. Yes, he was bisexual, but it wasn't his sexuality that was the problem, it was the fact that he just didn't do feelings. Any relationship he had was over before feelings could ever get involved. His relationship with ex-girlfriend, Floréal, was the only exception to that. They had been together long enough for him to start developing feelings, but then she broke up with him for another guy. She was now trying to get Grantaire back, but he kept refusing. He had been so sure that there was no way in hell he would develop feelings for the town pastor's son. That was why it had been so easy to just say that it wouldn't be a problem when Enjolras made him promise not to fall in love with him. Now, he knew never to make a promise that he didn't know if he could keep.

The heart works in mysterious ways, Grantaire thought one day as he watched Enjolras rehearse one of the songs in the musical.

With opening night now drawing closer, Grantaire just hoped that he could keep his new found feelings for Enjolras off the stage. He certainly didn't need any questions if what he was portraying Killian to feel for Jason was actually real.

***

It was opening night of Dancing in the Moonlight. The crew was buzzing backstage, making sure that the sets, props, and lights were all set and ready to go. Grantaire sat in the dressing room that had been assigned to him, going through his lines.

He was doing a few breathing exercises when there was a knock on the door. He signaled for them to come in. Enjolras walked in with a bag in his hand. Seeing him, Grantaire's heart started beating rapidly.

"Hey. Aren't you supposed to be getting ready?" Grantaire asked him.

Enjolras nodded, "Yes. I just wanted to come in and see how you're doing. If you're nervous or anything like that?"

"Nope. I'm perfectly fine," Grantaire tried, but Enjolras raised an eyebrow. "Okay, maybe my stomach feels a little nauseous."

Enjolras laughed a little before he opened the bag and handed him a small bag of saltine crackers and a can of Sprite before setting the bag on the table in front of the mirror. "When I feel nauseous, it's my go to, so I figured I might as well share it with you."

"Thank you."

"Only eat a couple of the crackers and don't chug the can. Take sips," Enjolras instructed, "I also brought it as an apology gift."

"Apology?"

"I've been a jerk these last few weeks since the conversation in the library and I'm sorry about that." Enjolras explained, shyly.

Grantaire shook his head, "Hey, it doesn't matter. I swear."

"Okay," Enjolras started walking away before turning back. "Break a leg."

He shut the door as he left. Grantaire sat back down to open the bag of crackers and popped one in his mouth. He grabbed the bag from the table to open it. The only other thing in there was an iPod with a note on it.

You asked what I do to get into character. Well, I gave you the first part. The saltine crackers and Sprite to get rid of the nauseous feeling. The second part is the iPod. On the iPod are just bunch of songs that I tend to listen to as a small little warm up ritual. (Music of all kinds, I promise) Break a leg! - Enjolras

Grantaire smiled as he unlocked the iPod. He started scrolling through the music. He laughed at some of the songs that he found, but before he could hit play on any, the stage manager knocked on the door to tell him that it was 10 minutes until places. Realizing that he wasn't in costume yet, Grantaire set the iPod down to finish getting ready.

***

The play was in its second act with three more scenes to go. Killian was meant to have a press conference the next day after pictures of him and Jason were caught on camera leaving with him a decision. Say that nothing was going on or be truthful. Jason was coming to see Killian to talk to him.

The sound effect of the doorbell went off. Grantaire walked across the stage. He let Enjolras into the set that was supposed to be his home. Enjolras sat on ottoman as Grantaire sat on the couch.

"Killian, I know this is hard for you. Your music means the world to you. I need you to know that I just want you to follow your heart." Enjolras said as he reached for Grantaire's hand.

Grantaire looked Enjolras in the eye. "I know and I will. I just don't know what my heart is telling me. I love my music, but I love you, too."

"It's okay that you don't know. You'll know what is right by looking in here." Enjolras' hand moved to where Grantaire's heart was. "That's all that matters."

Grantaire was too mesmerized by the blue of Enjolras' eyes to say the next line. He looked over Enjolras' shoulder to where Miss Adrian and Combeferre were standing. They must have thought he must have forgotten his next line because Miss Adrian made a gesture and mouthed "the song". Grantaire pulled out of his trance to squeeze Enjolras' hand and laced their fingers together.

"You said yesterday that you wrote something."

Enjolras smiled and kissed Grantaire's cheek and said, "Yes, I did. I'm not much of a musician, but it just came to me." Enjolras pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket and handed it to Grantaire.

"I'll play it as long as you sing it," Enjolras nodded at that. "Okay. Let's take a look."

They moved over to where the piano was sitting. Grantaire grabbed the sheet of music. It was a good thing that he had taken piano lessons when he was young. The title of the song was "Only Hope". In the play, Jason was meant to have written it to show that Killian was his only hope. Grantaire looked at Enjolras and started playing. When his cue came, Enjolras' started to sing. Filling the auditorium with his beautiful tenor voice.

The people in the audience were starting to wonder if the two men on stage were actually dating off the stage because the chemistry was undeniable. Valjean looked at the stage with a disapproving look for he too could see what the audience was seeing. Joly and Bossuet were actually enjoying the play, but were also trying to figure out where their best friend and Enjolras were acting or not.

Enjolras finished the song and the audience erupted into cheers as Grantaire removed his fingers from the piano. They smiled at each other. Once the clapping and cheers died down, they both leaned in for the second to last kiss of the play. The lights went out, signaling that it was okay to pull away. They hurried off the stage to their respective stations to change into their next costumes as the stage was set for the press conference.

***

The play finished the last two scenes. In its last scenes, Killian decided to be truthful about himself and give up music to be with Jason, no matter how much it broke his heart. It was the happy ending that Killian deserved after a life of pain. Grantaire had eternally embarrassed himself because in the last scene during the final kiss between Killian and Jason, he kept his lips on Enjolras' far longer than what was necessary. He was just thankful that Enjolras had gone with it.

Once the cast and crew were finished with the curtain call, the cast quickly changed back into their clothes and joined the audience in the entrance to the auditorium. Grantaire stood there, waiting for his mother, Christine, to finish talking. Miss Adrian approached him to hug him.

"You were marvelous, Grantaire." She complimented before walking away.

Combeferre came next to shake his hand. "You did great. Few missed lines, but other than that you were great."

Grantaire noticed Enjolras was about to leave with his sister and father. He still needed to thank him for the iPod. He excused himself from Combeferre to make his way toward Enjolras, but he was stopped by Javert.

"Well, Mr. Grantaire, how does it feel to have one performance under your belt? Only two more to go." Javert said.

"Great. Thanks for coming."

He excused himself again only for it to be too late. Enjolras was already out the door. Grantaire groaned as Christine caught up with him to ask him if he was ready to leave. He told her to give him a few minutes to collect his things from his dressing room.

Grantaire put on his jacket. He grabbed the iPod from the table. He looked at it before he put it in his jacket pocket. Grantaire turned off the light and left the dressing room until the performance the next night.

***

A few weeks after the musical was over, Grantaire was hanging out in his bedroom with Joly and Bossuet. He was sitting on the bed with his back leaning up against the headboard, a sketchbook in his hands. After the musical, Grantaire had felt the urge to start drawing and painting again. He never realized how much he had truly missed it until his hand had moved over the clean sheets of paper. In the back of his mind, he knew that had it not been for Enjolras, he probably never would have started again.

That was the other thing. Enjolras had turned into his muse. His sketchbook was filled with drawings of the blonde man. He refused to let any of his friends look at it for that very purpose. That was why he was sitting away from his friends, so they wouldn't see what he was drawing.

Joly stood up from the seat he was sitting in to walk over to Grantaire's stereo. He grabbed the iPod from the shelf, not realizing that it actually wasn't Grantaire's. He connected it to the stereo and hit play. When "Gravity" by Sara Bareilles started coming through the speakers, Joly immediately stopped it.

"What the hell, man? That is most definitely not the music that you listen to." Joly said.

Grantaire looked up from his sketchbook and said, "That's because that is not mine. Enjolras lent it to me and I haven't given it back to him." He reached over to his bedside table to grab his phone to unlock it before throwing it to Joly. "That is mine."

Joly connected his phone to the stereo and put it on shuffle. The first song that came up was "Heat of the Moment" by Asia. Content with the music, Joly went back to sit next to Bossuet. He leaned into his boyfriend as he put his arm around Joly. Grantaire turned back to his sketchbook.

"Okay, so now Enjolras has you listening to his kind of music?" Bossuet asked, after a few minutes.

Grantaire looked up at him. "What the hell is that supposed to mean? If Joly would have actually scrolled through the song list, he would have found music from all different kinds of genres."

"Whoa, okay. There is no need to get defensive." Joly commented.

Grantaire didn't say anything for a few minutes before he said, "I'm sorry, but I'm sick of all the teasing Enjolras gets, just because he's different."

Joly and Bossuet looked at each other before turning back to their friend.

"Okay, we are talking about the same Enjolras, right? The always wearing a red sweatshirt, needs to cool it with the ideals, honk-if-you-want-a-better-world Enjolras." Bossuet said.

"He is not like that all the time." Grantaire defended.

Joly looked closer at Grantaire. He could swear that he saw a hint of something that almost looked like love in Grantaire's eyes. "Are you sure that none of what was on that stage was real because for someone who at one point laughed with us when we would make fun of him, you seem to be doing an awful lot of defending him."

"Yes, I'm sure." Grantaire lied, straight through his teeth.

Bossuet nodded, "Okay, we believe you, but you might want to know that Floréal thinks that little lip action between you two was real."

Grantaire rolled his eyes at the mention of his ex-girlfriend. The girl seriously needed to realize that he was never taking her back. "Yeah, well, Floréal can think whatever the fuck she wants. It was not real. Alright?" he snapped.

"What is with you, man? You don't have to snap at us like that. We are just stating what the group thinks. A group it almost seems like you don't have time for anymore." Joly said, sadly.

Grantaire felt a pang of guilt hit him. It went away before he said, "Yeah, well, I'm over it, man. I'm tired of doing the same old shit all the time." He turned back toward his sketchbook as Joly and Bossuet looked at him. It was Joly, who said it first.

"This boy is changing you and you don't even realize it."

As he sketched a piece of hair for his drawing of Enjolras, he looked at the picture. He let out a breathily laugh. "What did Floréal say that, too?"

"No, we did." Bossuet said.

Grantaire looked at his best friends, but didn't say anything. What could he say? They were right. Enjolras was changing him. He was inspiring him to want to be better. He had no idea what he was going to do about it. Hell, he had no idea if he wanted to do anything about it.

***

Grantaire walked into the cafeteria. All the stares at him made him feel like he was the ghost of Christmas past. He ignored them as he walked over to the table where Enjolras was sitting. Once again, with a textbook and notebook in front of him and a pencil in his hand. His lunch was barely touched. Grantaire looked around the cafeteria again before he set his sandwich and milk down on the table. Enjolras looked up startled before turning his head back down to his paper. Grantaire could see the corners of his lips turn up before they disappeared.

"People can see." Enjolras said as Grantaire sat down.

"And that would ruin your reputation, how exactly?" Grantaire asked. Enjolras shook his head before he looked over at his textbook that Grantaire could now see was a math textbook. "So, what kind of math are you doing? If you get stuck, don't ask me for help because I will lead you in the completely wrong direction. Math is not a strong suit for me." He noticed that Enjolras didn't even flinch at this. He kept working. "Enjolras, I'm trying here. Okay? Maybe...maybe I miss spending time with you. Maybe you inspire me."

Grantaire had no idea what possessed him to tell him that, but it was too late the words were out and he couldn't take them back. Did he want to take them back? He asked himself.

Enjolras scoffed in disbelief. He closed his books. He threw them in his backpack before zipping it up. "Sounds like bull."

"Which part?"

"All of it." Enjolras moved to stand up.

"Well, it's not."

"Prove it." Enjolras challenged before he quickly walked, more like jogged, out of the cafeteria. Grantaire stared after him before he got up from the table and followed after him.

Enjolras made his way to the front door of the school. Grantaire had to run to catch the door before it could swing shut. When he got outside, Enjolras was already down the stairs.

"Enjolras! Enjolras!" Grantaire called.

"You don't know the first thing about being someone's friend." Enjolras told him, once he caught up with him.

"I don't want to just be your friend."

Enjolras shook his head. "You don't know what you want!"

Grantaire grabbed the crook of his elbow to make him turn to face him. "Well, neither do you! You're just too scared that someone might actually want to be with you!"

The glare Enjolras had sent him would have killed him, if looks could kill. "And why would that scare me?"

"Because then you wouldn't be able to hide behind your books, or your activism, or hell, even your faith." Grantaire told him. Once he finished, Enjolras' glare grew even colder. He turned to leave again, but Grantaire kept his hand in the crook of his elbow to stop him. "No, no, you want to know the true reason why you're scared. It's because you know you want to be with me, too."

Enjolras' scowled before he pulled his arm away from Grantaire. He turned around to go to his car. He opened the car door, threw his backpack in the passenger seat before he got in, and slammed the door.

Grantaire felt a pang of longing as he watched him drive away. He felt like an ass once again. This whole situation was seriously driving him crazy. Why the hell did he have to fall in love with such a stubborn, infuriating man?

He turned to walk back into the school. Ignoring the looks of everyone in the parking lot. What he didn't realize was that Feuilly had seen the entire exchange and was devising a plan that would humiliate Enjolras. He just wouldn't tell about the plan until after Christmas vacation.

***

Enjolras sat on the porch swing on the porch of his house. He sat there, studying for his test the next day on French history. He was pretty confident that he would ace it after all, he knew all there was to know about France. He felt a shadow come over him. Enjolras looked up to see Grantaire with a bag with tissue paper peeking out in his hand. He closed the book and set it next to him. Grantaire, shyly handed over the bag.

"I know, I'm here a little late, but I just wanted to give this to you as a very late birthday and just a few weeks early Christmas present. I saw it the other day and thought of you." Grantaire explained.

He took the tissue paper out of the bag and saw To Kill a Mockingbird at the bottom. Enjolras took the book out of the bag. He looked up at Grantaire with a surprised look on his face. "This is one of my favorite books, but how did you know?"

"I overheard a conversation during rehearsal one day about how much you loved the book. It isn't supposed to mean anything. I just kept the information in the back of my mind and like I said, I was at the store and I saw it. I couldn't not buy it. It's also supposed to be a-thank-you-for-the-iPod-and-crackers-and-soda-at-the-play-gift and apology gift for the way I've treated you in the past and even now because I'm sorry about that. Like really, really, really sincerely sor-"

"Grantaire! You're rambling," Enjolras smiled, "Thank you for the gift and don't worry about it. We'll just call it even. Okay?"

Grantaire took a deep breath and nodded, "Okay."

Enjolras looked over Grantaire's shoulder to see his dad in the doorway. Grantaire turned and decided that it was best to leave. He said bye to Enjolras as he walked to the steps of the porch.

"Grantaire." Valjean said.

"Reverend. Goodnight." Grantaire said as he walked down the steps.

"Goodnight." Valjean said as he made his way to where his son was sitting. Enjolras was still admiring the book when he sat down. "Enjolras, boys like Grantaire." He made a gesture in the direction of Grantaire. "They have expectations."

Enjolras rolled his eyes, "He's not like his friends, dad."

"That may be, but the rules around here aren't going to change." Valjean said, sternly.

"Okay," Enjolras exclaimed.

Valjean furthered the lecture, "Now, I know, you may not care about what I say or think, but you should care about God's opinion."

"I think, he would want me to be happy." He saw his dad look down at the book Grantaire gave him. "Dad, it was just a book. It wasn't as if he was proposing marriage." He leaned over to kiss his father's cheek. "I'm going to go help Cosette finish cleaning up from dinner, okay?"

Valjean nodded. Enjolras stood up to go inside the house.

***

It took about a month after that for my relationship with Enjolras to finally have the push it needed to go somewhere. I just wish that is hadn't been at the extent of Enjolras being humiliated, especially by a few people sitting in this very room.

Enjolras had not had very good couple of days. His emotions were all over the place because of it. It seemed the tiniest thing that didn't go his way either set him off in anger or tears. When he walked into the school in the morning of what was sure to be a late January chilly day, it seemed those horrible days would continue. All the students in the hallway were staring at him and some were even laughing. He had no idea why until Combeferre walked up to him and handed him a flyer.

A flyer where the only thing he was wearing were briefs and he had a riding crop in his hand. He could tell that the flyer was meant to make him look like a male stripper or something along those lines. However, it wasn't the image that got to him, it was the words next to it. "Virgin activist by day, male stripper by night? Who knew?"

Enjolras looked around the hallway. He could feel the tears brewing at the corners of his eyes. He looked to Combeferre, whose eyes told him that he tried to stop it, but couldn't. He looked around the hallway one more time before he couldn't take it anymore and turned to run. Only to run right into the arms of Grantaire.

"Whoa!" he said as he caught Enjolras in his arms. He looked around the hallway and saw Bahorel, Eponine, and Feuilly all smirking. "Hey, listen to me. This is about me. This is not about you." Grantaire set down his backpack and turned Enjolras as he said. "Wait here."

As Grantaire walked by Combeferre, he ripped the flyer from his hand. He made his way towards his friends. Bahorel was the first to approach him. He took the flyer from Grantaire's hand.

"Hey, man. I mean, no wonder you've been keeping him locked up. I really had no idea any of this was underneath that very old red sweatshirt." Bahorel said as he made a gesture towards Enjolras.

Grantaire knocked the flyer from Bahorel's hand in anger. He then pushed him. When Bahorel got his footing back, he did the same to Grantaire.

"Bahorel, stop!" Feuilly said.

Bahorel turned to his boyfriend and roared, "You stay out of this!" When he turned back towards Grantaire, he got a punch to the face. He was about to retaliate when Eponine grabbed his arm. "We're through!" He told Grantaire.

"That's fine." Grantaire said. He turned around to make his way back to the man that he loved.

"We're through! We are through forever. You made a mistake, Grantaire!"

Grantaire, not listening to Bahorel anymore, cupped Enjolras' face when he got to him. "You okay?" Enjolras nodded. "You sure?" He said as he reached for his backpack. "Let's get the hell out of here."

He led him back outside. Enjolras holding onto him like he was his lifeline as they made their way down the stairs. Grantaire rubbed his hand down his back and through his - surprisingly thin - blonde curls in attempt to comfort him. Enjolras was struggling to hold his tears back. "Baby, baby, I'm sorry. They're animals, okay? Want me to take you home?" Enjolras nodded at that. "Okay. Let's get out of here."

***

When Grantaire pulled up in front of Enjolras' house, he stopped the car. He turned in his seat to look at him. He reached for Enjolras' hand to lace their fingers together. Enjolras squeezed his hand.

"Are you sure that you're alright?" Grantaire asked for the hundredth time.

Enjolras nodded, "I'll be fine."

"Okay. Good." Grantaire turned to look out the windshield. "Enjolras, I've been meaning to ask you something."

"Shoot."

Grantaire took a deep breath before saying, "Will you go out with me on Saturday night?"

He noticed the way Enjolras turned to look at the house. "I can't." Enjolras whispered so quiet that Grantaire barely heard him.

"You got something else going on that night. Maybe a different night?" Grantaire said.

"No, no, it's not that," Enjolras shook his head, "I'd love to go out with you, Grantaire, I would. It's...just...that...um...I'm not exactly allowed to date."

Grantaire raised an eyebrow in confusion. Not allowed to date? But if he wasn't allowed to date, why was Cosette? Valjean seemed like the type of parent who would have the same rules for each of his children. "But Cosette is allowed-"

"It's a different situation, Grantaire. One that you wouldn't understand. At least, not at this moment. Know this, though, I would love to, but I just can't."

Grantaire gave a shy smile. "Okay, that's good to know. I'll see you later, then."

"Yes." Enjolras said as he let go of Grantaire's hand. He leaned over to kiss Grantaire's cheek before he unbuckled his seatbelt. He opened the car door, grabbed his backpack, and got out. "Bye, Grantaire." Enjolras turned to give Grantaire a small wave before heading inside the house.

He started the car. A smile brewing on his face. Grantaire was determined to take that man on a date. Even if he had to get down on his hands and knees and beg Jean Valjean to let him.

***

Valjean was standing up on the pulpit, going over his sermon for that Sunday's church service. He read one sentence to himself, but didn't like the wording. He crossed it out to fix it, and what he came up with, he liked better. As he continued to read his speech, he didn't hear the church door open or close.

He continued to read as he grabbed his bottle of water. Valjean read another sentence as he uncapped the bottle. When he brought the bottle up to his mouth, he noticed Grantaire walking up towards the pulpit.

"Can I help you?" Valjean asked.

Grantaire wrung his hands as the nerves started to overwhelm his body. "Uh, yes, sir. I'd like to ask your son to dinner on Saturday night?"

Valjean was taking a sip of his water as Grantaire asked the question. He removed the bottle from his mouth to say, "That's not possible."

Grantaire replied, "Well, with all due respect, sir, I ask you to reconsider."

"With all due respect, Mr. Grantaire, I've made my decision."

"Look, I'm sorry that I haven't treated Enjolras the way that I should've. He deserves more than that. I'm just asking you for the same thing that you teach us in church and that's faith." Grantaire said with hopeful eyes.

Valjean stared at Grantaire as he thought about. He let out a sigh. He closed his eyes and prayed he wasn't going to regret the words that were about to come out of his mouth. "Fine, but on two conditions. 1) You do start treating my son better and 2) You have him home at 11 P.M. Not 11:01 P.M. 11 P.M."

Grantaire's smile was so bright that it could have blinded someone. "Thank you, sir." He left the church with Valjean watching him carefully.

***

Saturday couldn't have come soon enough for Grantaire. After he asked Valjean's permission to take Enjolras out on a date, he called his son up to ask again. Enjolras was reluctant at first until he explained that he had already asked permission and his dad has said yes. Enjolras agreed enthusiastically afterward. A day later, Valjean called him up to ask him what exactly they would be going to do on the date and Grantaire told him. Mainly because one thing on the list of things they would be doing would need Valjean's okay.

It was now Saturday. Grantaire was on his way to pick Enjolras up. He had told him to dress casual, but still appropriate enough for a date. He had decided on a pair of nice jeans and a light green button down shirt and his grey Converse. He had grabbed his leather jacket for a safety measure. They did live in North Carolina, after all.

Grantaire pulled up in front of the house. He got out before making his way to the front door. He rang the doorbell only to be greeted by Cosette.

"Grantaire, come on in," Cosette invited. Grantaire stepped inside the house. "Enjolras will be down in a few seconds. He just had to finish up something quick." She explained as she moved to sit back down on the couch next to her father.

"That's fine. I'm not in any hurry."

He waited for another five minutes until he heard footsteps on the stairs. The moment he saw Enjolras, he was love struck. He was dressed in khaki pants, but his shirt was white that brought out the blue in his eyes. He was also wearing a pair of red converse. Grantaire smiled when he saw the red sweatshirt hanging over his arm. In that moment, he knew that Enjolras had ruined him for all other men and women.

Enjolras quickly became self-conscious when Grantaire didn't say anything. He finished coming down the stairs. "Is something wrong? If it's not what you had in mind, I can go change."

Grantaire shook his head to clear it. "No, don't change. You look great. Wonderful, actually. It's just...you're beautiful and um...I'm going to stop talking." He babbles causing Enjolras to chuckle and blush.

"We should-"

"Yes, we should." Grantaire held out his hand for Enjolras to take.

They smile at each other as Enjolras took his hand. Grantaire led him out of the house to his car. He opened the door for Enjolras. As he closed the door, Grantaire took a deep breath before walking around to the other side. Valjean and Cosette watched from the living room window.

"They are so adorable." Cosette squealed as she turned away from the window to sit back down.

Valjean continued to watch them as they drove away. He then turned to his youngest child. "That may be, Cosette, but don't forget that it's also going to end in heartbreak."

"I know that, dad, but Enjolras is happy for the first time in over two years. Let him have that before time runs out. Please?" Cosette begged, but her father doesn't reply. He just shook his head

***

The restaurant Grantaire had chosen was very casual, but elegant. It had a small string band playing music in the background. The tables had a white tablecloth and candlelight. Grantaire had only been there one time, and that was for his grandmother's 75th birthday when he was 15. Grantaire thought that it would be the perfect place for his first date with Enjolras.

The host led Enjolras and Grantaire to their table. As they walked hand in hand, they noticed that they were being stared at. Whether those stares were judgmental and homophobic or out of confusion for seeing the town pastor's son out with one of the town's most well know troublemakers, neither of them knew. Enjolras smiled at Grantaire as he squeezed his hand.

When they sat down, the host placed their menus in front of them and asked if he could get them something to drink.

"Um...strawberry lemonade." Enjolras said.

"Make that two." Grantaire added. The host nodded before leaving the table.

"I still can't believe you asked my father's permission." Enjolras said as he smiled.

Grantaire returned the smile, "All it took was a little persuasion, and then he was cool with it."

"I know, but I still can't believe it," Enjolras said as he looked down at the menu. "Whoa! Grantaire, this food is very expensive." He looked from the menu to frown at Grantaire.

"I know, but I promise you, it is okay. Order anything you want." Grantaire told him before looking back down at the menu. The host came back with their lemonade and told them that their waiter would be right with them.

***

They were now finishing up their desert which had been a shared piece of chocolate cake that was sure to put them in a sugar coma. It had been chocolate pudding that was mixed in with two layers of chocolate cake, drenched in chocolate sauce on top. It had definitely curbed Grantaire's sweet tooth for a few days. Their dinner had been very delicious, as well. Grantaire had order the grilled rosemary chicken and mashed potatoes while Enjolras had ordered fettuccine alfredo.

The waiter came with the bill as well as to remove their plates. Grantaire picked up the bill, but refused to let Enjolras see the price. He pulled out the exact bills and change from his wallet and placed it inside the book.

Grantaire looked up in the direction of the dance floor. An idea popped into his head. "Would you care to dance?"

Once he asked the question it took everything in Grantaire to not start laughing at the look of pure horror on Enjolras' face.

"Um...I can't dance."

"Everyone can dance."

"Not when you have two left feet." Enjolras mumbled

Grantaire chuckled at that, "Oh, come on, you can't be that bad."

"Oh, trust me, I can."

They both stood up. Grantaire took his hand to lead him to the dance floor. "You'll be fine," He pulled Enjolras to him by wrapping his arms around his waist. Enjolras' hands went around his neck. They just started swaying to the music instead of dancing. As they swayed, Grantaire couldn't resist asking "So, what's your number one?" Enjolras smiled. A smile that told Grantaire that he would never get it out of him. "It was worth a shot. Okay, number one on my list is getting out of Haven."

Enjolras' eyes met Grantaire's as he said, "I don't think getting out will be your problem. It's more like figuring out what you're going to do when you get somewhere."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, you could do anything." Enjolras told him.

Grantaire couldn't think of anything to reply to that.

They stayed on the dance floor until it got a little crowded before they decided to leave. Grantaire went for Enjolras' hand as he led him outside the restaurant and back to the car. Before they got into the car though, Grantaire asked him if he trusted him.

"Of course, I do."

"Do you trust me enough that you're comfortable wearing a bandana over your eyes until we get to the next part of the date?"

Enjolras raised an eyebrow as he smiled. "I do, but why the need for the blindfold?"

"It ruins the surprise."

Grantaire grabbed his shoulders to turn him around. He grabbed the bandana from his back pocket and folded it before putting it over Enjolras' eyes and tied it securely behind his head. He helped Enjolras into the car before running over to the driver's side to get them to their next location.

***

They pulled up outside of the humane's society. Grantaire put the car in park before turning to Enjolras, who was still blindfolded. He had been digging for clues the whole drive from the restaurant to the humane's society. Once he was out of the car, Grantaire ran over to the passenger side to grab Enjolras.

"Okay, you are acting like a crazy person. Can you just tell me where we are?" Enjolras asked.

"Just five more seconds." Grantaire told him as he positioned him, so that once he removed the bandana the sign would be the first thing that he would see.

"I'm starting not to trust you."

"Okay, okay," He moved his hands up to the bandana to remove it.

Enjolras was super confused when he saw the sign. "Why are we here?"

"We are here, so that you can adopt your puppy." Grantaire explained causing Enjolras to turn around so fast that it almost gave him whiplash.

"Really?"

Grantaire nodded. "Yes. You're getting your puppy. Already asked your dad's permission and he said that it was okay. It once again took some persuasion, but I got him to say yes. I think, he's finally starting to warm up to me."

"I doubt that, but you really didn't have to do this."

"I know, but I wanted to. So, are we going?" Enjolras nodded. They reached for each other's hand as they walked in.

An older woman named Marlene was standing behind the counter when they walked in. She welcomed them and asked what she could do for them. Grantaire explained that Enjolras was there to adopt a puppy. She was delighted to hear that. Marlene grabbed the keys to lead them to the back.

Enjolras walked around the cages of puppies. It was hard - being the big animal lover that he was - to choose a puppy. He wanted to adopt all of them. He didn't want a large dog, but didn't want a super small one either. It had be medium sized. Enjolras turned his head toward Grantaire, who was standing next to Marlene, with his arms folded, smiling at him.

"Have you found him, yet?" Grantaire asked.

"Not yet," That was when he saw the puppy. It was a tan and white Lhasa Apso puppy watching him with curious, sad-looking, brown eyes and floppy ears. He fell completely in love with it the moment he saw it. "Grantaire! I found the puppy!" Enjolras knelt down next to the cage. He placed two fingers in the cage door and let the puppy come to him.

Grantaire and Marlene walked to where Enjolras was sitting in front of the cage of a Lhasa Apso, petting it with two fingers. Enjolras' smile was so wide and happy that Grantaire couldn't help the smile that came on his face. He had to admit that the puppy was pretty cute.

Marlene walked to the cage. She took her keychain of keys from her belt loop and found the key to open up the cage. The puppy came right to her as she stepped inside. "This little beauty has been here for a few months. She was the runt of the litter, so instead of taking her to the pet store, the breeders brought her here. I've been hoping she would get adopted despite her small size." She walked towards Enjolras.

Enjolras held out his hand for the puppy to lick and sniff at. The puppy then started to swat at his hand. Marlene handed her to Enjolras. Grantaire walked toward Enjolras to pet the puppy. The puppy turned her head and nipped at Grantaire's hand before she turned to bury her head in the crease of Enjolras' elbow.

"Well, I see how it is." Grantaire said with a smile.

"She seems very much attached to you already." Marlene commented.

Enjolras smiled, but tried to coax the puppy out to say hi to Grantaire. "Hey, little girl, come on. Say hi to Grantaire. He won't hurt you." he cooed. The puppy came out and looked up at Enjolras before turning to let Grantaire pet her.

"So, this is the puppy?" Grantaire said, scratching her behind her ears. Enjolras nodded, enthusiastically.

"Sounds good. I'll go draw up the paper work. Once she was brought in, I took her to the vet because I had such a soft spot for her. She's perfectly healthy and is caught up on all of shots. I have to ask before I go do the paper work, will you be taking home tonight or tomorrow?"

Grantaire answered the question. "Tomorrow. It'll be the first thing we do after school."

"Alright, sounds good." Marlene left to go back to the front.

The men turned their attention back to the puppy. Grantaire continued to rub behind her ears as he asked. "Have you thought of a name?"

Enjolras nodded. "I have. Patria. It's a ridiculous name, I know, but that was the name I was always going to name my puppy if I ever got one. No matter the gender."

"Hey, I'm not judging," Grantaire held up his hands. "I like it. Hello, Patria." The puppy yipped. "I think she likes it, too."

"I have a question. I know, it's supposed to be my puppy, but I know my father-"

Grantaire held up his hand. "Stop it right there. I told you, your father said it was fine. The puppy is yours, so she stays with you."

Enjolras smiled at him, "Okay. I have another question, will you be her co-parent? That seems ridiculous to ask, but it's you who took me here and-"

"I'd love to be." Grantaire said, taking Enjolras' hand and squeezing it.

They looked into each other's eyes until they heard Marlene's footsteps in the doorway.

"Okay, I need you to fill out the forms and pay the reasonable price. Once that is done, this little girl will be yours." Marlene said, holding out the papers.

Enjolras handed Patria to Grantaire in order to follow Marlene into the front to fill out the papers. The puppy was adorable. Grantaire knew that the puppy already had Enjolras wrapped around his finger. When Grantaire was decided what to do on this date, he had been hesitant to bring Enjolras to the shelter because he knew that it was moving too fast, but when he saw the way his date's face had lit up when he saw Patria, Grantaire knew he would never regret the decision. He would have the money for Patria ready and waiting for when they came back.

"So, what's the price of this adorable little girl?" Enjolras asked when they came back and took Patria back.

Marlene quickly figured it out and said, "Very cheap, actually. The price is $115.00. Who's paying?"

"I am." Grantaire said.

Enjolras looked at him and began to protest, "Grantaire-"

"This was my idea. I'm the one who's paying." Grantaire said as he handed the money to Marlene.

Marlene signed off on the dotted line and handed the papers back to Enjolras "Congratulations, you have now adopted a puppy. Sadly, I know, how badly you want to keep holding her, but I have to get her ready for tomorrow." Marlene took Patria from Enjolras' arms after letting the new co-owners say goodbye.

Once, the new co-owners had left the shelter, Marlene smiled. She lifted the puppy up, so she could look into her eyes. "I'm going to miss you, little beauty, but I know those two very sweet men are going to take wonderful care of you. Now, let's get you ready for tomorrow." She took her back to the tub to give her a bath.

Enjolras and Grantaire walked out of the shelter, hand in hand, and very excited. Enjolras stopped in the middle of the parking lot. He smiled up at Grantaire. Grantaire returned the smile.

"So, were you expecting that?" Grantaire asked.

Enjolras shook his head, "No, but it was the best surprise that I could ask for. Thank you!" He pulled his date into a hug and Grantaire wrapped his arms around him and spun him around. Enjolras started laughing as he buried his face in Grantaire's neck. Grantaire joined in the laughter because it was infectious. When Grantaire set him down, Enjolras looked up to the man's face before whispering again. "Thank you."

"You're welcome." Grantaire said, lifting his hand to remove a curl from Enjolras' face. He could feel himself start to lean in, but he knew that it wasn't time for that yet, so he quickly moved away from him. "Come on, there's another surprise." He grabbed Enjolras' hand to lead him back to the car.

"I don't have to be blindfolded this time, do I?" Enjolras asked.

"No."

Enjolras seemed to be satisfied with that because he didn't say anything. They got into the car and Grantaire drove them to the next destination which was Haven Beach.

***

When the pulled up to the beach, Enjolras immediately started to grow suspicious and a little worried. Why would Grantaire bring him to a beach? Grantaire parked the car in one of the parking spaces. He turned to Enjolras and told him to remove his sweatshirt.

"Why? Are you trying to seduce me?"

"Not on the first date, but if I were, are you seducible?" Grantaire asked to which Enjolras smiled as he shook his head. "Didn't think so. We are not here, so I can seduce you or any of the other crazy things that your mind has come up with. Instead, we are here because I thought it might be a nice place to do this," He reached in the center console and pulled out three slips of paper. When he held them up, Enjolras saw that they were temporary tattoos of either the French flag, the Eiffel Tower, or the rainbow LGBT flag. "Pick which one you want."

Enjolras was in shock at seeing the tattoos. "Um...you choose. I trust you."

"Terrible choice, really," Grantaire quipped while looking at the tattoos to decide. "Um...the French flag because for some reason it's just so...you," Enjolras rolled his eyes as he nodded. "Okay, so where do you want it?"

Enjolras thought about and looked down at his body before unbuttoning his shirt. He pulled the sleeve down off the shoulder. He failed to notice the way Grantaire's breath hitched as he did so. He moved his white tank top from his shoulder. "Here." He pointed to his shoulder blade.

Grantaire removed the plastic top sheet. He placed the tattoo on Enjolras' shoulder. He kept his fingers on the tattoo as he grabbed the wet cloth from where it was sitting on the dashboard. He placed it on the tattoo to douse the paper in water. Once the paper was fully wet, Grantaire removed the cloth, very slowly. When it came off, the tattoo was perfect. Grantaire moved his finger over the tattoo as his eyes flickered up to meet Enjolras'. They smiled at each other. Grantaire moved closer to blow at the tattoo and Enjolras' shivered at the feeling.

"How do you like it?"

Enjolras' smile widened as he pulled his shirt back into place. "I love it. Thank you."

Grantaire nodded. "Go on a walk with me?"

They walked in the direction of pier. A cool breeze swept over the harbor as they walked. Enjolras shivered causing Grantaire to remove his jacket and place it over his shoulders. Enjolras gave a small "thank you" and they kept walking. They stopped at the end of pier. Enjolras turned to look at Grantaire.

"Why don't you believe that the world can change? I'm only asking because I've been curious for a while. You don't have to tell me-"

Grantaire cut him off. "It's not that I don't believe the world can change. I just don't believe that it will. There's more people in this world who could care less if it did. People who want to try, don't have the guts. There's more hate and suffering in this world than love or compassion, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. However, that doesn't mean that I don't believe in you and your abilities to change the world. If that makes sense?" Enjolras nodded. "Why is it so important to you anyway?"

Enjolras turned away from Grantaire as he pulled the jacket closer around him. He walked to the edge of pier. Enjolras had no idea what to say, but he didn't have to because in that moment a breeze of wind blew over the water. "It's so important to me because of my mother. She told us to always chase after our dreams. She always encouraged me, even at the age of six. Her encouragement is always with me, especially when the wind blows. I can't see it, but I feel it."

"What did she say?" Grantaire inquired.

"She said that there's wonder and beauty. Joy. Love. That those four things will never fade away, no matter how cruel the world may seem. So, keep fighting for it. It may just happen. It sounds crazy, I know." He explained as he turned back to face Grantaire. The dark haired man could see tears pool in Enjolras' eyes. In that moment, there was nothing, but absolute vulnerability in the blonde man's eyes.

"No, it's not crazy," Grantaire told him. They just stared at each other for a few minutes. "I might kiss you."

"I might be bad at it." Enjolras said quietly.

Grantaire shook his head. "No. That's not possible," He leaned in to kiss him. When their lips touched, it was gentle and sweet. Grantaire made sure to keep his mouth closed and tongue to himself. He moved his hand to cup Enjolras' face. He pulled away from him to place his forehead on Enjolras'. "Enjolras...I love you." He pulled his forehead away from Enjolras' to look him in the eye, when he heard his breath hitch. Enjolras looked like he had just received the death blow. They looked at each for a few more second before Grantaire spoke. "Now...would be the time to say something."

Enjolras looked him in the eye as he whispered to him. "I told you not to fall in love with me."

They kiss again before Grantaire placed his forehead on Enjolras' and laced both of their hands together.

"I should probably get home. It's almost 11." Enjolras told him.

"Yeah." Grantaire agreed.

They walk back to Grantaire's car. After Enjolras got in, he had to fight back the tears that he could feel threatening to fall. Once Grantaire got in, they left the beach.

***

When Grantaire pulled up in front of Enjolras' house, he put the car in park. He turned in the driver's seat to look at Enjolras, who had been looking out the window the whole ride. He touched Enjolras' shoulder. Enjolras was startled out of his gaze, but relaxed when he saw that it was just Grantaire.

"Hey, you okay? You were quiet the whole way home."

"I'm fine."

"You sure?" Enjolras gave a small smile as he nodded. "Okay."

Enjolras unbuckled his seatbelt. He reached for the door handle. "I'll see you tomorrow," He opened the door and started to step out, but was pulled back by Grantaire. "What?"

"You forgot something."

Enjolras smiled. Grantaire reached up and cupped his face. He brushed his lips over Enjolras'. He was about to deepen the kiss when the porch light of the house was flicked on. Enjolras pulled away.

"If I don't go in, my dad will come out," Enjolras told him. Grantaire nodded, "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Yes, you will."

Enjolras got out of the car. As he walked up the steps, he heard Grantaire start the car, but not drive away. When he got up the stairs, Enjolras turned back around to give a small wave. Grantaire returned it before he pulled away from the curb. Enjolras walked quickly into the house once Grantaire was gone. He could feel the tears that he had been desperate to keep at bay finally start to break through.

When he walked into the house, he saw his dad and sister sitting on the couch in the living room, watching the news when he walked in. Enjolras removed his sweatshirt in order to wipe away a tear that slipped from his eye.

"So, how did it go? Was he the perfect gentleman that he promised he would be?" Valjean asked.

Enjolras sighed, "He was amazing..." He turned to run up the stairs when his voice caught in his throat.

Cosette and their father stared after him. Valjean moved to go after him, but Cosette stopped him. "I'll go." Valjean nodded as Cosette stood up.

Enjolras only got as far as the wall next to his bedroom. He slid down the wall and wrapped his arms around his legs. The tears finally broke through. He was crying so hard that he barely felt his sister come sit down next to him and start running her fingers through his hair.

"Enjy, what happened?" Cosette asked.

Her brother slowly started to calm down in order to tell her. Enjolras looked at his knees as he told his sister. "He told...me...that he...loved...me." He said in between breaths.

Cosette's eyes filled with sympathy for she knew the reason why Enjolras was so devastated by Grantaire being in love with him. "Oh, Enjy." She said.

"I made him promise that he wouldn't. Why would he break that promise?" Enjolras cried.

"Enj, you can't help what the heart wants."

"But now, I have to tell him, Cosette. I can't break his heart." Enjolras said as tears continued to stream down his face.

Cosette pulled her brother into her arms as he cried. She started to rock him back and forth as she hummed the lullaby that their mother used to use to sing them to sleep.

Their father came up the stairs to see his eldest child, crying in his sister's arms, and knew that there was no way to stop what had already begun.

***

In the weeks since their first date, Grantaire was shunned by Bahorel, Eponine, and Feuilly, but he didn't really care. He had Enjolras that was all that mattered to him. Having remained loyal to their best friend, Joly and Bossuet had been shunned as well. They didn't understand Grantaire's relationship with Enjolras, but they kept their mouths shut.

When Enjolras and Grantaire were not in school, they were in the park with Patria, training her. Patria was learning everything fast. Cosette had fallen in love with her the moment they brought her in the door, but Valjean on the other hand was still warming up to the idea of having a puppy in the house. Their friends, whenever they were around, would spend their time playing with the puppy.

During their daily walk in the park, they sat at a bench to give the tired Patria time to rest. Grantaire wrapped his arms around his boyfriend's shoulders. Enjolras laid his head on his boyfriend's shoulder, watching their puppy, and feeling happier than he had in a very long time. He just dreaded knowing that the happiness he was feeling wouldn't last much longer.

When Grantaire brought the puppy and Enjolras home that night, he quickly said goodbye. He got back home and walked into the kitchen, where Christine was sitting at the table, looking though a magazine. Grantaire tip toed into the kitchen before he placed his hands on his mom's shoulders and caused her to jump.

"You scared me!" She said, hitting him with the magazine.

"Sorry." He kissed her cheek before going to the cupboard to get a glass and filling it up with water.

His mother raised an eyebrow, "How's puppy training coming?"

"It's going well, I think. Long way from being finished, though. I adore Patria, almost as much as I adore her other co-parent." Grantaire said taking a drink of the water.

"That's good. How are things with Enjolras?"

Grantaire sat down at the table as he took another drink. "Good, although, there seems to be something bothering him and I can't seem to figure out what it is."

"I'm sure, he'll talk to you about it when he wants to," his mother told him, "I was doing the laundry the other day and I found this." She moved her hand to the pile of papers next to her and pulled a paper from the middle of the pile. Grantaire groaned when he realized what it was. "It says "List of Goals". Graduate. Go to art school. Own an art gallery. Sweetheart, these are lovely ambitions, but you are going to have to work extra hard."

"I can do that," Grantaire said, determined, "Mom, Enjolras...he...he believes in me. He believes that I can rise to my full potential. I just want to prove to him that I can."

"And I know that you will." Christine told him. She placed her hand over her son's.

***

Two weeks later, Enjolras stood in front of his closet with Combeferre and Courfeyrac sitting on his bed. Jehan sat on the floor playing with Patria. He had called them over to help him pick out clothes for his date with Grantaire that night. He picked a blue button down shirt from his closet and went to stand in front of the mirror to hold it up in front of him.

"Definitely not. That shirt screams sex," Jehan said as he pulled on the rope he was using to play tug-of-war with the puppy. "You want him to focus on you, not getting you into bed."

Enjolras rolled his eyes. "I don't have to worry about that because he already told me that we would wait until I was ready."

"Doesn't matter if you talked about it or not. The shirt still screams sex." Jehan told him.

He threw the shirt back into his closet and started looking for a new one. Enjolras stopped when he found one of his bands from a hospital visit about three months ago. All three friends noticed what he was looking at.

"Have you told him, yet?" Combeferre asked

Realizing that they saw him looking at the band, Enjolras immediately hid it under one of his shirts before he started looking for another shirt.

"Enjolras, have you told Grantaire, yet?" Combeferre asked again.

Enjolras took a deep breath. "No, I haven't." Picking a white V-neck t-shirt, he walked over to the mirror and held it up in front of him.

"That's the one. Pair it with the black vest that Cosette gave you for your birthday last year." Jehan smiled. Enjolras set the shirt on the chair next the mirror. He walked back to the closet to find the vest that Jehan was talking about. As he searched, Enjolras heard Jehan ask, "Why haven't you told him?"

Enjolras found a black scarf while he searched for the black vest. He held it up for Jehan to see and his friend nodded. Enjolras placed the scarf on the doorknob as he continued to look for the vest. He told his friends as he searched. "I just haven't."

Combeferre sighed. "How long do you think you can go without telling him?"

"I don't know, 'Ferre," Enjolras said as he walked out of the closet. He opened one of his drawers to look for the vest. He didn't find it in any of his drawers. Enjolras finally found it underneath his red sweatshirt, hanging over his desk chair. He threw it on his pile of clothes.

"He needs to know at some point, Enj." Combeferre said.

Enjolras screamed in frustration as he turned to look at his friends. "You don't think I don't know that! It is in the back of my mind every time we are together, but you guys have no idea what it is like seeing the smile of happiness on Grantaire's face and knowing you have to tell him something that is going to rip his heart out."

The three friends all exchanged looks, but it was Courfeyrac who said, "And we get that, but Enjolras, he does need to know, especially before your opportunity is gone."

Understanding what Courfeyrac is trying to get at, Enjolras nodded, "I'll tell him soon. Just give me a few more days."

The three friends stayed with Enjolras until he kicked them out, so that he could take a shower. When he was ready, he grabbed the leather jacket that his boyfriend had given him on their second date. He walked downstairs, Valjean was waiting on at the bottom of the stairs with a disapproving look, but before Enjolras could say anything, there was a knock at the door. Enjolras opened the door and greeted Grantaire with a kiss.

Grantaire nodded to Valjean before he led Enjolras out of the house.

***

They walked up the front porch steps when Grantaire brought Enjolras back home. Enjolras leaned in to kiss his boyfriend. He broke the kiss and rested his forehead against Grantaire's. He lifted their laced hands up to his mouth to kiss Grantaire's hand. Enjolras looked up into his eyes and smiled.

"What?"

"Nothing. I just..." Enjolras trailed off. "It's just that...um...I love you."

Grantaire smiled before kissing him again. It's a gentle kiss until Grantaire cupped his face, attempting to deepen it. Enjolras groaned and Grantaire pulled back.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'm stopping." Grantaire apologized. "I love you, too."

Enjolras brought their lips together again, but it was a very short kiss because the door of the house opened. An angry, yet protective, Valjean storming out.

"Grantaire, it's time to go home. The night is over." Valjean said. Enjolras rolled his eyes as Grantaire took a step back.

Grantaire nodded. "Yes, sir. Goodnight, baby."

Enjolras chuckled. "Goodnight, 'Taire."

They smiled at each other until Grantaire saw Valjean's stern look. He walked down the front porch steps and to his car. Enjolras watched Grantaire leave, while Valjean was waiting for his son's attention to be given to him.

"Enjolras, your behavior is unacceptable. You're acting with that boy as if you were-"

"In love?"

"You are a child, Enjolras."

Enjolras was taken aback by this. "Dad, look at me, I'm not a child."

"Then stop acting like one!"

The father and son glared at each other for a few minutes before Enjolras broke the silence.

"I love him."

Valjean shook his head, "Well, if you love him like you say you do, then you need to be fair to him, Enjolras. Before things get worse." He said before turning back into the house, leaving the door open.

Enjolras looked back in the direction that his boyfriend went. He took a deep breath before walking into the house and closing the door. He took Grantaire's jacket off as he made his way upstairs to his bedroom. Patria was sleeping in her usual spot at the foot of his bed. Enjolras smiled when he saw her and pressed a kiss to the top of her head.  He set the jacket on the bed and grabbed his pajamas to quickly change into them. The ding of his phone went off as he turned the covers down on the bed. Enjolras saw that it was a text from Grantaire. He grabbed his phone as he got into the bed. Once he was situated under the covers, he opened the text.

11:13 P.M. Grantaire: Saturday night. You. Me. Dinner. Movie. Pick you up at about 5:30?

11:16 P.M. Enjolras: Sounds good.

He placed his phone on his bedside before turning off the light. A few minutes later, his phone dinged again and he picked it up.

11:19 P.M. Grantaire: Okay! I love you! ; )

11:19 P.M. Enjolras: I love you, too!

11:20 P.M. Grantaire: Goodnight.

11:20 P.M. Enjolras: Goodnight, my love.

Grantaire sent him a bunch of kiss emojis. Enjolras had to wipe a tear from his eye as he set his phone on the bedside table once again. He snuggled under the covers. Patria came up to lie next to him. Enjolras cried himself to sleep for what felt like the hundredth time.

***

On Saturday night, Grantaire noticed that Enjolras was unusually quiet. Normally, he could hold a conversation, but tonight Grantaire had to pull him back to the conversation more than once. He could tell that he was distracted, and Grantaire desperately wanted to know what was bothering his boyfriend. The date had been wonderful. The food had been delicious. The movie enjoyable. But none of it seemed to be able to take Enjolras' mind off what was bothering him. 

They were currently walking back towards Enjolras' house. Grantaire had decided that it was nice enough out they could walk, plus the movie theatre and restaurant were in walking distance from his house. They were about three blocks from Enjolras's house when Grantaire couldn't hold back his questioning anymore.

"What's got you so quiet tonight?" Grantaire asked, but received no answer. "Are you worried about your college applications?"

Enjolras shook his head and pulled his hand away from Grantaire's. He wrapped his arms around himself as if he was trying to keep himself from breaking. "No. I'm not applying to college."

Grantaire raised an eyebrow, "Okay. Take a year off and do the study abroad in Paris thing?"

"No. I'm not going to be doing any of my future plans." Enjolras said, walking a little further ahead of Grantaire.

"Okay. So, what are you going to do?" They had stopped walking at this point. Grantaire waited for Enjolras to look at him. "Enjolras, what's bothering you? Tell me, please," Enjolras felt the tears prickle in his eyes. He wrapped his arms tighter around himself. "You're starting to scare me."

Enjolras closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he opened his eyes, he unwrapped his arms from himself, and turned to face his boyfriend. Grantaire did not expect to see tears in the eyes of the man that he loved.

"I'm sick."

"Okay, so I'll get you home. You'll be fine tomorrow."

"No. Grantaire!" Enjolras said, harshly. "I'm sick. I have leukemia."

Grantaire's eyes widened in shock. "No. No. You're 18. You're...you're perfect."

"No. I found out two years ago and I've stopped responding to the treatment." Enjolras explained as he fought the tears back.

Grantaire shook his head. Enjolras could see that his eyes were starting to become red. "So, why didn't you tell me?"

"The doctor said that I should go on and live life normally as best I could. I - I didn't want anyone acting weird around me."

"Including me!" Grantaire's voice raised a little bit.

The first tear slipped from Enjolras' eye and he wiped it away. "Especially you!" He stopped for a second to gather his thoughts. "I was getting along with everything perfectly. I accepted it, and then you happened! I told you not to fall in love with me for a reason, Grantaire. This. This was the reason."

The tears were now flowing freely as Enjolras turned away from him and ran down the street. Grantaire tried to reach for him, but he was too quick.

Grantaire pushed his hands through his hair. He couldn't breathe. There was no air in his lungs. He could feel his heart closing in. Enjolras had leukemia. Enjolras had cancer. Enjolras was going to die. The man that he loved was going to die. Those were the only words running through his mind. He could feel his eyes burning with tears as his brain processed what it had just heard.

After the initial shock wore off, Grantaire ran home. He slammed the door shut and stayed facing the door until he heard his mother's concerned voice.

"Grantaire! What happened?" his mother asked. Grantaire turned to face Christine. "R, what happened?"

His mother walked towards him to pull him into a hug. It was the comfort of his mother that caused Grantaire's knees to give away under his weight. He gripped his mother's arm as she ran her fingers through his hair.

"It's okay. Whatever happened, it'll be okay."

Grantaire pulled away from his mother to look her in the eye. "No. It's not. Enjolras. He-"

"What about Enjolras, Grantaire?"

"He...he has leukemia, and he's going to die," Grantaire explained. "How is that possible? How does someone as good as Enjolras have leukemia?"

His mother pulled her son's head underneath her chin. She rubbed his shoulder, up and down. "I don't know, baby. I don't know."

"I don't want to live in a world where someone like him can be taken out of it." Grantaire cried.

Grantaire buried his face in his mother's neck. His mother held him as he cried, her heart breaking for her son as she rocked him back and forth.

***

In the days that followed Enjolras telling me the truth, my whole world shifted. Everything I knew of the world had shattered. The only thing that I was certain of was that I loved Enjolras, more than anything on the entire planet, and I was going to lose him. The man that I knew was The One was going to die.

My top priority became Enjolras, but my phone calls and texts went unanswered. I was desperate to know that he was alright. I needed to tell him that despite the fact that he was going to die and our time together would be cut short, it didn't change anything for me.

Grantaire walked the halls of the school, his hand holding the strap of his backpack as he searched for Combeferre. It had been almost two weeks since Enjolras had told him that he had leukemia. Enjolras hadn't been in school since the day he had told him, and Grantaire hadn't heard from him. He was starting to worry that something had happened to him. If anyone knew how Enjolras was it would be his best friend.

He found him sitting next to his locker, reading what looked to be some type of science book. Grantaire walked up to him. When a shadow came over him, Combeferre looked up. Grantaire gave him a sad, small smile and Combeferre bookmarked his page and stood up. He opened his locker.

"Hi, Combeferre."

"Hi. What do you need? A pencil. A pen. A notebook."

Grantaire rolled his eyes. "No, I don't need anything other than knowing that Enjolras is alright. He told me about his illness about two weeks ago, and he hasn't returned any of my texts or calls. I just need to know that he's okay. Please, Combeferre."

Combeferre turned to look at his best friend's boyfriend and saw the desperation in his eyes. "He's fine, I promise."

"Thanks." Grantaire said. He walked away from Combeferre.

When I finally knew that Enjolras was alright, the next step was getting him to see me. I needed to see him. To hold him. To kiss him. Just be in the moment with him. I needed it like I needed to breathe air. I decided that if he wasn't going to come to me, I would have to go to him.

Grantaire knocked on the door of Enjolras' house. Another week had passed since Grantaire had talked to Combeferre in the school hallway. He may have known that Enjolras was alright, but he wanted - no, he needed to see him.

It became clear that there would be no answer at the door. Grantaire turned to walk down the steps. He stopped when he heard the door open and turned around. It was Cosette at the door. She stepped out, but kept the door open just a crack.

"He doesn't want to see you, Grantaire." Cosette said.

Grantaire walked towards his boyfriend's sister. "I figured as much, but he's okay, isn't he?"

"He's fine. Some days are worse than others, but he's fine."

"And how are you doing with all this?"

Cosette crossed her arms. "It's not easy knowing that my brother is dying, but I treasure every moment I have with him."

Grantaire nodded. "Well, I just wanted to see if there was a chance that I could see him, but clearly there's not, so I'm going to go," he started to leave, but then turned back. "Cosette, can you please just let him know that I'm not going anywhere and that I love him."

"I will do that."

Grantaire thanked her before turning and walking away. Cosette watched him leave before going back into the house. As she's closing the door, she turns her head towards the staircase where Enjolras is sitting on the third step, tears running down his cheeks. He's been there since Cosette opened the door and had heard every word of the conversation between Grantaire and his sister.

"I hope you realize that you're being ridiculous." Cosette said, walking towards the staircase.

Enjolras wiped away a tear from his cheek. "It's better this way."

"Better for him? Or better for you?" Cosette asked him.

"For both of us," Enjolras said, looking up at his sister.

Cosette sighed in frustration. "Enjolras, come on. How can it be better this way?"

"I'm dying, Cosette! I'm just going to cause him more pain, and I don't want to do that. I just want him to be happy." Enjolras said.

"You are blind. Blind! You are the only thing that makes him happy," Cosette told him. "Enjy, since the diagnoses I've watched you deny yourself things that could have made you happy. Please, don't deny yourself the man you love. God only knows how much time you have left. Use that time to be happy. Please." She begged.

Cosette turned and went into the living room leaving Enjolras to stew over what she just said. After three weeks of avoiding him, Enjolras finally decided it was time to see Grantaire.

***

Two days later, Grantaire went for a walk and found himself standing in the grass near the harbor. He stood there with his hands in his pockets, watching the fishing boats and sail boats on the water. He was still very worried about Enjolras and he still didn't know what to do with the information. He had asked himself plenty of times why couldn't he have just kept his promise and had not fallen in love with Enjolras? He wouldn't be feeling the pain that he was if had.

He heard footsteps behind him, but didn't turn to look at them. The newcomers placed their hands on his shoulders.

"Your mom called us," Joly said. "Talk to us, man."

"About what?"

"About you. About Enjolras." Bossuet said.

Grantaire sighed, "What's there to talk about, guys? Enjolras is the best person I've ever known."

"At first, we didn't get it. You and him. It just seemed to...weird." Joly said.

Bossuet continued from where Joly left off. "But we get it now after spending time with him. He really is a great person."

"Thanks, guys." Grantaire turned to face his best friends and hugged them both.

***

Enjolras knocked on the door of his boyfriend's house. It was an early-March day and the air was chilly. He was bundled up in his red sweatshirt and Grantaire's leather jacket. He placed his hands in the pockets of the jacket as he waited for the door to open. Christine opened the door. Enjolras hoped that the disappointment he felt that it wasn't Grantaire had stayed off of his face.

"Enjolras. Grantaire's not here right now." Christine told him.

"Do you know when he'll be back?"

Christine shook her head. "No, I don't. I'm sorry. You can wait inside for him if you want."

"No. That's fine. I'll wait for him out here." Enjolras declined.

"If that's what you want," Enjolras moved away from the door. "The door will be open if you change your mind." Christine shut the door. Enjolras moved to sit on the steps.

Enjolras pulled his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around them in attempt to retain body heat. He hated the cold. It didn't help that he got colder a lot quicker now. Enjolras wrapped his arms tighter around himself as he waited for his boyfriend.

He had been waiting 10 minutes before he saw Grantaire walking toward the house. He looked really down and Enjolras felt a punch of guilt. He shouldn't have avoided him. He should have talked to him right away. Grantaire saw Enjolras sitting on the steps and smiled sadly.

"Hi." Enjolras greeted when Grantaire got to the steps.

"Hi." Grantaire said as he moved to sit next to Enjolras on the steps.

Enjolras turned to look at him. "I'm sorry that I've been avoiding you. I just couldn't face you after telling you. I'm sorry that I didn't tell you sooner."

"I made you do too many things." Grantaire said, not looking at him.

Enjolras shook his head, "No, if anything you kept me healthy longer."

They looked at each other, but didn't say anything. Silence fell around them. Enjolras turned back to face the sidewalk as Grantaire turned to look at him. Grantaire needed to ask the question, but didn't know if he was ready to hear the answer.

He took a deep breath before asking, "How long?"

Enjolras sighed and closed his eyes before opening them. "At the appointment I had in October, which was when we found out the treatment had stopped responding, my doctor said anywhere between a year to a year and a half. Maybe more. Maybe less."

Grantaire nodded in understanding. "Are you scared?"

His boyfriend turned to look at him. "To death," When Enjolras saw that Grantaire didn't appreciate that sentiment, he sighed. "Lighten up."

"It's not funny." Grantaire told him as tears started to form.

Enjolras reached for Grantaire's hand as he thought about what to say. "I'm scared of leaving my family and my friends. I'm scared of leaving this world knowing that I can do something to make it better. But most of all, I'm scared of leaving you. I don't want to leave you. I'm not ready to leave you." Tears starting to come again.

"Baby, I promise you that will never happen." Grantaire took Enjolras into his arms. Enjolras buried his face in his boyfriend's neck as he cried again.

***

Grantaire stood at his locker, grabbing books for his science class. Enjolras had returned to school and was currently in his history class. A few days ago, Enjolras explained more about his illness to Grantaire. 

In their talk, Grantaire had learned this. In mid-February of 2013, five months after the start of his sophomore year of high school, Enjolras had been feeling poorly prompting his dad to schedule a doctor's appointment. The doctor's did a few tests, but they had to wait a week for the results. Once the results were in, Enjolras learned that he had been diagnosed with leukemia and was told he'd have to come back in to decide on treatment. Enjolras started chemotherapy and had missed most of the last three and half months of his sophomore year due to the side effects of treatment. It took months, but in November of 2013, he finally went into remission. Only for the cancer to return six months later and the treatments started all over, but in mid-October of 2014, Enjolras stopped responding to the treatment and was forced to accept that he was going to die. His doctor giving him anywhere between a year and a year and a half to live.

After learning all that information, it finally hit Grantaire that this was actually happening. His boyfriend, the love of his life, was going to die and there was absolutely nothing he could do to stop it.

Grantaire heard footsteps come from behind him and a tap on his shoulder. He turned around to face Combeferre.

"Can I help you, Combeferre?" Grantaire asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

"I just need to say one thing, now that you know that Enjolras is dying. He doesn't want to be treated like an invalid. He's a man who wants his freedom and you can't take that from him."

Grantaire rolled his eyes. "I'm not going to take that from him. Enjolras is meant to soar, not have someone lock away his wings. I don't believe in much, but I do believe that and in him. Now, if you excuse me, I'm late for class." Grantaire grabbed his books and closed his locker.

***

Later that night, Grantaire was sitting next to Enjolras on the couch in his living room. They were attempting to watch a movie, but Enjolras kept getting distracted by Grantaire's fingers playing with his curls and the way his fingers brushed gently over the back of his neck sending shivers down his spine. Grantaire, on the other hand, was completely unaware of his boyfriend's distress. He felt Enjolras' hand reach for his from behind his neck and turned to face him. Enjolras' lips were on his before he could say a word.

The kiss was sloppy and messy and desperate. It was unlike their previous kisses which were gentle and sweet, yet passionate. This was the exact opposite. Enjolras shifted to get a better angle and ended up on his boyfriend's lap. Grantaire's hands moved to Enjolras' waist as they continued to kiss. Enjolras placed his hands on Grantaire's face as he deepened the kiss. Grantaire could feel arousal grow inside his jeans. Based on what he could feel as Enjolras pushed against him, his boyfriend was in the same state.

Enjolras pulled away from Grantaire. His lips swollen and red and Grantaire could see the desire in his boyfriend's eyes. He knew that he should stop what they are doing before it went too far, but his mouth couldn't form the words. Enjolras attached his mouth to Grantaire's neck. He kissed, nipped, and sucked at it and Grantaire let out a moan. He felt Enjolras smile against his neck before moving back to kiss him again. Enjolras' hands slide from his face and down his chest towards his belt buckle. Grantaire pulled away from Enjolras when he felt his hands start unbuckling his belt.

"Whoa! Slow down, tiger." Grantaire said as he grabbed Enjolras' hands away from his belt.

Enjolras looked at him, confused. "What? What's wrong?"

Grantaire gave his boyfriend an unimpressed look. "Are you sure this is what you want? Especially now."

"You don't want me." Enjolras frowned.

"Of course, I want you. It's because I want you that I stopped," Grantaire placed his hand on Enjolras' cheek. "Enjolras, once it's done you can't take it back. I need you to be 100% sure that you want this." Grantaire tells him.

Enjolras thought about it for a few seconds. Did he really want this? Yes, he did. Was he ready? He thought he was, but then again was anyone ever ready for their first time having sex? He was sure about Grantaire. He loved him more than life itself. He wanted his first time with Grantaire. Enjolras looked up at Grantaire, before saying with conviction. "Yes, I want this. I want you. I want to give myself to you completely."

"I don't want to hurt you." Grantaire told him.

Enjolras placed his hands back on his face. "You won't. Will you make love to me, please?"

Grantaire looked into the eyes of the man he loved and saw only love, adoration, and lust. He knew he couldn't deny the man anything, no matter how hard he tried. "Okay, but you have to promise me one thing."

"And what's that?"

"If you feel uncomfortable at any time, you tell me to stop or you push me away, alright?"

"I promise." Enjolras said.

Grantaire brought Enjolras' mouth back down to his and showed him what true passion could be. Their tongues started to battle for dominance. Enjolras' hands moved to Grantaire's black curls and started to pull causing Grantaire to moan into his lover's mouth. Grantaire pulled his mouth away from Enjolras' in order to kiss down his neck. Enjolras moved his head to the side, letting Grantaire have better access.

He pulled away from Enjolras' neck and started to unbutton his shirt, but stopped when he realized that Enjolras should be having his first time in a bed, not on a couch. His hands dropped from Enjolras' shirt causing his boyfriend to give him a confused look.

"Not here. Not on a couch. You deserve better than that." Grantaire said.

Enjolras stood up from his place on Grantaire's lap. He was only on his feet for about five seconds before Grantaire had him in his arms, carrying him bridal style up to his bedroom. Their lips found each other again as they made their way up the stairs.

Grantaire gently laid Enjolras on his bed as they continued to kiss. He hovered over him, so his body wasn't pressed up directly to his boyfriend's. Enjolras' hands moved down to the hem of his t-shirt. He pulled it up and over Grantaire's head. Enjolras' eyes roamed his chest as his hands made their way up to rest over his heart.

Enjolras looked up at Grantaire. "I know you're worried about this being too much for me, but I'll be fine, okay?"

Grantaire gave him a look that was filled with doubt. "I just want this to be good for you."

"It will be," Enjolras assured. "Because it will be with you."

With that, any reserve Grantaire about having sex with Enjolras faded away. Grantaire leaned forward to kiss Enjolras before pulling away to help Enjolras remove his shirt. When the shirt was removed, Grantaire could see small bruises on his body and couldn't resist not kissing each and every one. Enjolras giggled as Grantaire kissed the bruises.

Enjolras' hands roamed Grantaire's back and chest before moving down towards his jeans. His hands found his belt buckle once more. Grantaire pulled away from where he was kissing a bruise on Enjolras' chest.

"Are you ready for that?" Grantaire asked.

His boyfriend nodded and Grantaire gave him the go ahead to unbuckle his belt and jeans. Enjolras pushed his jeans down as far as he could before Grantaire kicked them off. Grantaire looked at Enjolras for his okay to remove his jeans. When he received permission, he unbuckled the jeans and pulled them off. Grantaire moved so that he was hovering over Enjolras again.

"Come closer. Everything is going to be fine." Enjolras assured.

Grantaire moved closer to press their clothed cocks together. Enjolras moaned at the feeling as Grantaire grinding down to add friction between them. They smiled at each other before Grantaire moved his mouth to Enjolras' neck to pepper kisses all over it. He moved his lips from Enjolras' neck down to his collar bone, to his chest, and finally his navel. Enjolras let out a giggle at the feeling of breath ghosting over his belly, and Grantaire realized that he was ticklish in his stomach.

The skin on skin contact, not to mention the heat from the friction was starting to drive Enjolras mad with pleasure. The feelings that were exploding in him he had never felt before. The desire, the anticipation, and the love he felt for the man above him were all stirring inside of him. With every touch and caress that Grantaire's finger made on his skin caused a different sensation inside of Enjolras, and he fell a little bit more in love with Grantaire.

Grantaire's fingers ghosted over the skin near the waistband of Enjolras' briefs. Enjolras started writhing underneath him. Grantaire hooked his fingers in the waistband of the briefs before asking Enjolras' permission to remove them. His boyfriend nodded and Grantaire pulled them down, revealing to him the red, straining, angry cock of his lover that was curving towards his stomach. Enjolras saw his boyfriend's eyes darken with lust at the sight. He grabbed Grantaire's wrist and placed it around his cock. Grantaire understanding what he wanted, started pumping his hand as Enjolras groaned.

As his cock was stroked, Enjolras could feel heat start to rise in his stomach. Having Grantaire's hand on him was intoxicating, but this wasn't how he wanted to reach his peak. Enjolras reached forward and stilled Grantaire's movements.

"What's wrong?"

Enjolras grabbed his boyfriend's hand and laced their fingers together. "I don't want to cum with you stroking me. I want you inside of me."

Grantaire stilled and asked. "Are you sure?"

The only response he received was Enjolras nodding. Grantaire pulled away from his boyfriend. He leaned down to the bottom drawer of his bedside table to grab the lube and a condom. When he came back up, Grantaire looked at Enjolras' body fully for the first time. Despite little bruises over his chest and arms, Enjolras was beautiful. His chest was toned and chiseled. It was obvious that even with his illness, he did what he could to stay healthy. His golden curls were spread out, making them stand out against the cream colored sheets. Grantaire smiled because he still couldn't believe that this beautiful man was his.

"It'll be easier with you on your hands and knees." Grantaire told him as he set the condom down and uncapped the bottle of lube.

Enjolras shook his head. "No. I want to see you. But first, if I am going to be bare, you are too." He pointed to Grantaire's boxers.

Grantaire stood up to pull them off and let his lover get a good look at him before he climbed back on the bed. Enjolras spread his legs revealing to Grantaire his beautiful hole. He grabbed the bottle of lube and squeezed some onto his pointer finger. He slowly pushed his finger into his boyfriend's entrance causing Enjolras to hiss at the burn. Grantaire soothed him and started to pull out, but Enjolras stopped him.

"No. Don't. I'm fine," Grantaire raised an eyebrow. "I'm fine." Enjolras grabbed his lover's other hand and pulled him up towards him. He pulled Grantaire down to kiss him.

Grantaire pulled away from the kiss. He moved the one finger around a little more before pulling it out. He added more lube to his first two fingers and pushed both in. The burn that Enjolras had been feeling had started to fade to a dull ache with every stroke of Grantaire's fingers. The fingers scissored letting Grantaire go deeper. Grantaire found his boyfriend's prostate which sent a current of pleasure through Enjolras' body and caused a cry to release from his mouth. Grantaire smiled wickedly and moved his fingers, so that he was hitting the prostate, every couple of movements of fingers. He pulled his fingers back out causing Enjolras to whimper. He added lube to all three fingers and pushed back in. Enjolras winced as Grantaire continued to stretch him.

"I'm sorry."

"It's fine. Keep going."

Grantaire continued the movements of his fingers, watching the expressions of his lover's face carefully. Intrigued by the little sighs and moans and squeaks of his boyfriend. He hit Enjolras' prostate again and Enjolras screamed again.

"'Taire...please...need you...now." Enjolras said between breaths.

Grantaire pulled out his fingers and reached for the condom. It took three attempts to open it because of his slippery fingers. He slowly moved it down his cock. He moved so that he was once again hovering over Enjolras, one hand planted on the bed, while the other lined himself up with Enjolras' entrance.

He pressed his lips to Enjolras' as he pushed the head through the entrance in attempt to comfort him. Enjolras felt like his body was being split in two as Grantaire continued to stretch him. Grantaire felt Enjolras' nails dig into the skin of his arm. He pulled away and looked him in the eyes.

"Wrap your legs around my waist. It'll ease the pain a little bit." Grantaire told him. Enjolras did as he was told.

Grantaire pushed further in until he was fully sheathed inside of Enjolras. He paused his movements to allow Enjolras time to adjust to the feeling. When his boyfriend nodded his okay, he started to move slowly. He pulled out so that just the head was in Enjolras before thrusting back in. Grantaire leaned down to kiss Enjolras and when he pulled away, he smiled down at him. Enjolras returned the smile and moved a piece of hair that fell in front of his eyes behind his ear. Grantaire started with a slow pace before gradually picking it up as Enjolras got used to it.

With every thrust of Grantaire's hips, Enjolras let out groans, moans, and whimpers. He had never felt anything like this before. The pain was still there mildly, but Enjolras could also feel pleasure. It felt wonderful having Grantaire inside of him. Enjolras threw his head back in a scream when Grantaire thrusted deep enough to reach his prostate. Grantaire attached his lips to Enjolras' neck and sucked a small bruise onto his neck caused a sigh to escape Enjolras' mouth. Enjolras searched for one of Grantaire's hands and intertwined their fingers.

Grantaire had no idea what was better. Being inside of Enjolras or the sounds that he made with every thrust of his hips. Grantaire didn't lack in experience. He had had his fair share of one night stands and flings, but nothing. Nothing. Had ever felt as perfect as being with Enjolras. It was everything Grantaire had hoped it would be and more. He kissed and nipped at Enjolras' neck, and then nibbled at Enjolras' ear lobe causing Enjolras to let out a giggle.

"I love you." Enjolras murmured to the love of his life.

Grantaire leaned down to kiss him again and started to move a little bit faster. He could feel his release coming, but wanted to make sure that Enjolras got there first. He let go of Enjolras' hand, so that he could wrap it around his lover's beautiful and swelling cock. Enjolras moaned at the touch. He started to pump his hand in time with his thrusts. The heat in Enjolras' stomach started rising and he wrapped his legs tighter around Grantaire.

With one final stoke and thrust, Enjolras fell over the edge with his back arched and his hand clutched in the sheets. Cum started to cover both of their chests and Grantaire's hand. Grantaire continued to stroke and thrust to help Enjolras reach the end of his orgasm. Enjolras fell back against the sheets and pillows. Hearing Enjolras' little sighs of pleasure, Grantaire's own orgasm hit and he started filling the condom with his own cum. Enjolras whimpered at the feeling of Grantaire's pulsing cock inside of him.

When Grantaire's release finished, he gently pulled out of Enjolras causing another soft whimper. He pulled off the condom, tied it up, and got off the bed to throw it away. Grantaire returned with a damp warm washcloth to wipe Enjolras clean of cum. He threw the washcloth in the general direction of the bathroom as he climbed under the covers with Enjolras.

Grantaire pulled the covers over them as Enjolras cuddled into Grantaire. He laid his head on his chest and wrapped an arm around his waist. Grantaire's arm wrapped around his back. Enjolras started drawing shapes of his lover's chest.

"So, how do you feel?" Grantaire asked, his fingers combing through Enjolras' fading gold curls.

Enjolras looked up at him. "Good. Sated and happy."

The couple didn't move or talk for a long while. They were content with just being near each other and basking in the afterglow. Grantaire kissed the top of his boyfriend's head. His fingers stopped their combing through Enjolras' hair causing a protest to escape from Enjolras. Grantaire smiled before continuing with his movements.

"Love, can I ask you a question?" Grantaire said as he gazed up the ceiling of his bedroom. He felt Enjolras nod on his chest. "We have done almost everything on your bucket list minus a few things that we can't, but there is one thing that we can't do because only one of us knows what it is. So, my question is, will you finally tell me what your number one is?"

You. Enjolras thought as he pulled away from his boyfriend's arms. He rolled onto his side, so that he was facing away from Grantaire. "You're going to laugh at me."

"No, I won't. I promise that I won't." Grantaire assured.

"Alright," Enjolras rolled back over so he could face Grantaire. He stayed on his side and propped his arm, so that he could rest his head on it. He reached for Grantaire's hand and he played with his fingers as he admitted what his pretend number one was. No way in hell was he going to tell Grantaire the truth that he was his number one. "My number one is to be married in the church that my parents were. They were married in a church in Alexandria, where my mother grew up. That's my number one."

"I think that's a perfect number one." Grantaire told him.

Enjolras looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "Really?"

"Absolutely." Grantaire kissed him. He was already thinking of a way to make his boyfriend's number one happen.

When they pulled away, Grantaire leaned forward to look at the clock on his bedside table and groaned. "We should probably get cleaned up and dressed. You have to be home in 45 minutes. I don't want to be the cause of your father's panic attack."

They reluctantly pulled out of each other's arms again in to get dressed, and then Grantaire took Enjolras home. When Grantaire pulled the car up in front of Enjolras' house, the porch light was already on. Grantaire smiled when he noticed that Enjolras' face was still bright red and he had a very noticeable love bite on his neck.

"You're glowing."

"Is that a good thing or bad thing?"

Grantaire shrugged. "Depends on if you want your dad to know what happened tonight. If you wanted him to know, it's a good thing, but if you didn't, well, we might want to prepare my grave."

Enjolras chuckled. "You'll be fine. My dad knows that I love you and probably figured that it was going to happen sooner or later. Walk me to the house?"

"Of course."

They got out of the car and walked up to the house. Enjolras turned to face Grantaire once they were up the steps. Grantaire reached for his other hand and laced their fingers together.

"I love you." Grantaire said.

Enjolras leaned forward to kiss him before pulling away. "I love you, too. I'll see you tomorrow. Text me when you get home, so I know you got home alright?"

"Of course." Grantaire said as kissed him one last time before letting go of his hands and making his way back down the stairs towards his car.

Enjolras watched him leave before he smiled and walked the short distance to the door. Once he was inside the house, he leaned against the door as if he was in daze. Valjean watched his son from where he was sitting in the armchair in the living room. He could see marks on his son's neck and the dopey smile on his face. When Enjolras turned to go upstairs, Valjean caught the faint scent of sweat mixed with sex, and knew that his son was no longer a virgin. He didn't say anything to Enjolras, he just turned right back to his book and shook his head.

***

A week and a half later, Grantaire stood next to his boyfriend's locker. He could see Enjolras' eyes lined with red and he looked exhausted. It was obvious that Enjolras was not feeling that well, but when he told him that he should go home and get some rest, his boyfriend refused to leave. That had been right away when they got to school today. Now, it was between third and fourth period.

"Are you sure that you don't want to go home?" Grantaire said, folding his arms over his chest.

Enjolras turned and looked at him. "I'll be fine. I've had days like this before."

"That maybe, but I still can't help worrying about you. I love you."

"I know." Enjolras cupped his face and leaned forward to kiss him before turning back to his locker.

Grantaire turned to look down the hallway. He saw Bahorel and Feuilly next to the water fountain looking in his direction. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw Enjolras' hand grasp the side of his locker. Grantaire held out his hands to try to steady him.

"You alright?"

Enjolras' grip on the locker door tightened. "All of sudden the room started spinning and..."

Before Grantaire could register what was happening, his boyfriend was falling into his arms, sweating and unconscious. He caught him and lowered him to the ground. Cosette was all of sudden at his side.

"Someone call an ambulance." Cosette cried as she checked her brother's pulse.

"The call is already being placed." Javert said appearing from behind them.

Grantaire held Enjolras in his arms as they waited for the ambulance. The students and teachers stood next to doors and lockers, all stunned by seeing Enjolras unconscious. Grantaire remembered that no one apart from family and friends knew about Enjolras' leukemia. He saw that Combeferre, Courfeyrac, and Jehan all had worried looks on their faces. Cosette had left to wait with Javert for the ambulance.

After five minutes of waiting, the paramedics were running in with the stretcher. One paramedic took Enjolras out of Grantaire's arms and set him on the stretcher. They began checking his vitals as they wheeled him down the hallway, talking fast to each other as they did so. Grantaire followed closely behind.

They wheeled him out to the ambulance, but one paramedic stopped Grantaire and Cosette when they try to climb in.

"I'm his sister. You have to let me go." Cosette told the paramedic.

The paramedic relented and let Cosette inside. They turned to Grantaire. "And you? What's your relationship with the patient?"

"I'm his boyfriend," Grantaire said.

"Since you have no blood relation to the patient, I'm afraid-"

"Please, I have to be with him. Please." Grantaire begged. His voice cracking as he did so.

At the sound of his voice, the paramedic gestured for him to get in. "But don't get in the way."

Grantaire nodded as he climbed in. The paramedics shut the door. The siren was turned on and they were off to the hospital.

As they made their way, Grantaire watched Enjolras' unconscious body like a hawk. He was allowed to take his hand as the paramedics worked around him and Cosette. Cosette was in the corner calling their dad telling him that they are on their way to the hospital.

When they got to the hospital, Grantaire was forced to let go of his hand as they got Enjolras out of the ambulance. Doctors and nurses were waiting to take him inside the hospital once the paramedics got him down from the ambulance. Cosette and Grantaire climbed down just as Enjolras was wheeled inside. They follow the stretcher down the hall until a nurse stops them.

"You two will have to wait in the waiting room." The nurse said before running to catch up with the other doctors.

Grantaire caught one last glimpse of blonde curls before the stretcher was wheeled around a corner and the door swung shut.

They went to the waiting room to wait. Cosette sat down, but Grantaire went to look out a window. His heart was pounding a million miles a minute. He knew that Enjolras wasn't feeling well. He should have insisted for him to go home and get some rest. Maybe this wouldn't have happened if he had.

Grantaire didn't realize that he was crying until he felt something soft on his hand. He looked up and saw it was Cosette. He quickly wiped away the evidence of his crying.

"I know what you're thinking and I want you to stop. This isn't your fault. Enjolras knew that he should have gone home. It's not your fault." Cosette pats Grantaire on the arm. "He'll be okay, I promise."

Grantaire nodded. "I know."

Valjean soon comes bursting through the hospital doors. He makes his way to Cosette and Grantaire, demanding that they explain what happened.

"Enjolras had been feeling poorly all day. I kept trying to get him to go home and rest, but he refused. We were standing by his locker when all of sudden he said that the room was spinning and before I know it, there's an unconscious Enjolras in my arms." Grantaire explained. "I promise you, sir, I tried to get him to go home."

"I believe you, Grantaire." Valjean placed a hand on Grantaire's arm. "It wasn't your fault. I'm sure you know by now that my son is stubborn."

Grantaire nodded. "Yes, I do."

Valjean turned to Cosette and told her to go back to school. She protested for a good 15 minutes before she reluctantly agreed and left the hospital with the promise that Valjean would call her the moment they knew something. He then turned to Grantaire and tried to get him to leave as well, but Grantaire refused.

"You can't miss school, Grantaire." Valjean said.

Grantaire crossed his arms. "I'm staying."

"I'll call you if there's a change, now go back to school."

"No. I'm not going anywhere. I promised Enjolras that I wasn't going anywhere and no matter what I'm keeping that promise. I'm staying. Whether you like it or not." Grantaire said, sternly.

Valjean dropped the subject after that. They both took a seat in the waiting room. Valjean, who had gone through tons of waiting since his son had been diagnosed was having an easier time with it than Grantaire was. It took not even five minutes of waiting for Grantaire to stand up and start pacing. Valjean knew what Grantaire was going through for he had been a nervous wreck after Fantine had collapsed that first time.

As he watched Grantaire wear a hole in the tile floor, he had a strong sense of Deja vu. The pacing back and forth had been him when he had been waiting for news on Fantine every time she had been hospitalized during her illness. That startling realization showed Valjean that Grantaire loved Enjolras in a way that was not so different from the way he had loved his own wife. Fiercely and passionately. It was that moment that he started seeing Grantaire as something more than just an irresponsible 18 year-old.

It was another 20 minutes, but felt like an hour when the doctor came down the hallway.

"Family and friends of Julien Enjolras." Doctor Albertson called.

Grantaire stopped where he was standing and Valjean stood up. Dr. Albertson made his way to the two men. When he stood in front of them, Grantaire couldn't take it any longer.

"How is he?" Grantaire said.

"You're the boy who came in with him. The boyfriend." Dr. Albertson said.

Grantaire nodded and asked again. "How is he?"

Dr. Albertson took a deep breath. "Enjolras is asleep. We ran tests and found that his cancer has materialized."

"What does that mean?" Grantaire asked.

"It's spreading and fast. There's not much we'll be able to do from here on out. Other than try to keep him as comfortable as possible by upping the dosage for his pain medication." Dr. Albertson explained.

"How much longer does he have?" Valjean asked.

"It's hard to say, but my estimation is six months. Maybe more. Maybe less." Dr. Albertson told them. "In my medical opinion, I think it might be time to pull him from school. Let him spend what time he has left with family and friends and not worrying about school work and grades."

Valjean nodded. "I'll make the arrangements."

"I'm sorry, Valjean. I wish there was something more I could do."

"You've done all that you can. Can we see him?"

Dr. Albertson said. "Yes, but one at a time." He walked away from them to go tend to his other patients.

Valjean turned to Grantaire only to find that a single tear was falling from his eye. Seeing that display in front of him, he couldn't help the words that came out of his mouth. "You go first." Grantaire nodded and moved to go to his boyfriend's room. He walked a little of the distance before he stopped and turned back to face Valjean.

"Sir, I know that you don't like me very much, and quite frankly I don't blame you. I also know that I'm not your ideal match for your son, but that doesn't change the fact that I love him and he loves me." Grantaire said.

"I'm well aware of that, Grantaire."

"Good because I want to ask your permission to marry him."

"Grantaire..." Valjean trails off.

Grantaire crossed his arms and said. "I know that it won't be much of a life together, but I want to give him everything and being married before he dies is something that he wants." Valjean didn't say anything. He just stood there in shocked silence. "I'm going to ask him to marry me with or without your permission, sir."

Valjean could tell that he was being serious. He couldn't very well tell him no when all he wanted was to make his dying son happy. So, he said, with a very small hint of reluctance. "Yes. I give you my permission to marry my son."

"Thank you." Grantaire said before turning to walk down the hallway.

***

Once, I got to his room, I never left his side. Not once. Enjolras was asleep for a good fifteen hours, thanks to the medication that the doctors had given him. I couldn't bring myself to leave after hearing the doctor's news. I wanted to spend every moment with Enjolras that I could. He finally woke up around nine the next morning. However, once he woke up, I was having trouble keeping my eyes open.

Enjolras had been drifting in and out ever since he woke up. Grantaire stayed by his side, getting him anything he needed. Enjolras could tell that his boyfriend was exhausted. He wanted to ask him to go home and get some rest, but knew that his boyfriend was going to be stubborn.

Through the loud beeping sound in his ear, Enjolras heard the door opening and through his half-lidded eyes, he saw his father come in. Valjean walked to the chair where Grantaire was sitting and shook him awake.

"You should go home and sleep." Valjean whispered to Grantaire.

Grantaire shook his head. "I'm not tired."

"I need just a moment with him."

Grantaire realized that his boyfriend's father hadn't been able to see him. He nodded as he stood up. Enjolras kept his eyes closed as he felt Grantaire lean down to press a small kiss to his cheek.

"I'll be back later." He whispered in his ear, and then left the room.

Valjean sat down in the seat that Grantaire had just occupied. He looked at his sleeping son and rubbed his tired eyes with his hand. His hand was still over his eyes when Enjolras opened his own.

"Dad," Enjolras said, weakly.

Valjean pulled his hand away to look at his son with a startle. He leaned forward to grab his son's hand. He then asked his son a question with a chuckle. "Do you remember when you were about eight or nine and you said you hated the government system, so you barricaded the door to your room to protect yourself from it?"

Enjolras smiled and chuckled. "I was so angry with you for making me take it down."

His father looked at him with sad eyes and he gripped his hand harder. "Enj, if I kept too close it's only because I wanted to keep you longer. When I lost your mother, I was afraid that my heart would never open again. Enjolras, I couldn't look at you or your sister for days, but then..." He trails off as he continues to look at his sick-ridden son.

Enjolras could feel the tears threaten to fall. "Daddy, I love you, so much."

His father kissed the back of his hand and laid his head on the bed next to his arm. Enjolras moved his hand to run his fingers through his father's hair to comfort him. They stayed in that position until the nurse came in to check on Enjolras. Before Valjean left to go back home, Enjolras asked him that he bring his mother's special book to him. Valjean told him that he would and kissed the top of his son's head.

The nurse told him that he was allowed to remove the cannula from his nose as long he was able to breathe on his own. When the nurse left, Enjolras fell back to sleep. He woke up the next morning when his dad came in and set the book on the cart that held his tray of food. Valjean told him to go back to sleep. The next time he woke, it was to see his beloved boyfriend sitting in the same chair as he had the previous day, sketchbook in his lap and a pencil in his hand. Grantaire looked up when he saw Enjolras move his hand. He smiled.

"Hey. I see you're much more awake today." Grantaire said as he stood up. He set the sketchbook on the chair before leaning forward to kiss his boyfriend on the lips. He moved to sit back on the chair, but Enjolras patted the bed next to him.

Enjolras grabbed his boyfriend's hand as he smiled at him. "I have something for you." His hand moved to grab the book from the cart. He handed it to Grantaire. His boyfriend took the thick green covered book with grace and looked at suspiciously. "Don't worry it's not a Bible. I had my dad bring it this morning. It was my mother's. It has quotes from her favorite books and movies. Quotes from famous people."

Grantaire opened the book to a page in the middle. His eyes skim the page, reading the quotes. When he lands on one that makes him smile, he reads it to Enjolras. "'You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.'" It's Dr. Seuss."

"I was obsessed with his books as a child. I think I made my mother read me Horton Hears a Who like 10 times before I went to sleep when I was three." Enjolras admits. Grantaire can't help it when he leans forward to kiss Enjolras with a smile on his face.

Enjolras pulled away from the kiss to signal him to turn the page. He knew exactly what quote he wanted Grantaire to read. He pointed to the page where it was. Grantaire looked down and read it before looking up at Enjolras with a raised eyebrow. When Enjolras nodded, he began to read.

"Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish." Grantaire stopped reading there and looked at Enjolras, who had been mouthing the words as he read them. They looked at each other with a smile.

It only lasts a few seconds before the look on Enjolras' face turned serious. "Tell me the truth, what did the doctor say?"

"'Jolras-"

"'Taire, I need to know." Enjolras cut him off.

Grantaire sighed. "The cancer is spreading. He advised your father to take you out of school."

"No, not when I only have a month and a half left." Enjolras protested.

"It's what the doctor thinks is best." Grantaire told him. He can tell that the nod that he gets from Enjolras is reluctant. After a few more minutes of silence passed, Grantaire asked. "What are you thinking?"

"I'm going to be seeing my mother again and I'm ready for that, but I'm not ready to leave you. I don't think I'll ever be ready to leave you." Enjolras says. He squeezes his boyfriend's hand as tears rush to eyes.

Grantaire cups his face with his hand. "My love, you'll never leave me. You'll always be with me. No matter what." Enjolras weakly smiles through his tears as he leans into Grantaire's hand on his cheek.

***

Three hours later, Valjean walked into the room. He saw Grantaire holding Enjolras as he slept. Grantaire looked up as the man walked in. He watched as Valjean took the seat that he had occupied a few hours ago. They just looked at each other before Valjean said.

"I think that it's time that you and I have a talk." Valjean told him. Grantaire nodded as he combed through his boyfriend's hair. "I'll be honest, I was not happy when my son decided that you would be the one that he was going to be with. You and your friends had never been the kindest to him. Not to mention you were reckless and careless, and I thought you would break his already broken heart. I was being the overprotective father."

"I understand that, sir. I would have been too, but you judged me by my previous actions before you even gave me a chance." Grantaire told him.

"I realize that, and I'm sorry." Valjean told him.

Grantaire looked at his boyfriend's father and said, "Apology accepted."

The two men smiled at each other. Valjean leaned back in the chair. Grantaire placed a small kiss on Enjolras' forehead.

"You know the way you love him isn't that different from how I loved his mother."

Grantaire looked up at him. "What do you mean?"

"I mean that I would have done anything for her, including taking her place. I wasn't ready to lose her. I held her very similarly to the way you are holding him the night I was told that she wasn't going to make it." Valjean explained to him.

"We were supposed to have forever." Grantaire kissed Enjolras' forehead again.

Valjean sighed. "I know, and I'm so very sorry that you can't. It's very inconvenient to fall in love at your age when you're in a situation like this, especially if it's the real thing."

Grantaire looked up at his future father-in-law before he let the tears fall.

 ***

 An hour later, Dr. Albertson came in the room to talk to Enjolras, Grantaire, and Valjean. Grantaire sat next to Enjolras on the bed, their hands laced together. Dr. Albertson stood telling them that he will be prescribing a higher dosage of pain medication because the pain will only grow worse over the next few months. Enjolras gripped Grantaire's hand like a vice as Dr. Albertson explained everything, but Grantaire wasn't being much comfort because as the doctor talked about the last few months of his boyfriend's life, all Grantaire could think about is how unfair the whole situation was. After hearing enough talk about his boyfriend's impending death, Grantaire pulled his hand out of Enjolras' and stood up. Tears filling his eyes.

"I'm sorry, but this is just too much." Grantaire said before running out of the room.

"Grantaire!" Enjolras called after him.

Grantaire heard the desperate call of his name, but just kept running. He ran through the hallways of the hospital until he was out of breath. The tears streaming down his cheeks. Grantaire stopped when he reached a wall as far away from Enjolras' room as possible. He rested against the wall, crying into his hands. Grantaire eventually slid down to the floor, pulling his legs up to his chest.

He cried until the tears ran out. Grantaire lifted his head up from his hands and wiped the tears stain streaks from his face. He knew that he should go back in and comfort Enjolras, but right now Grantaire just needed time by himself and let everything that happened in the past few days sink in.

Grantaire stood up intending to search for the bathroom to get cleaned up before he went back in to explain to Enjolras why he ran out. He started searching for the bathroom. As he walked, Grantaire looked up at the signs that would tell him where he needed to go, but instead of the bathroom, he found the doors for the hospital chapel.

He forgot about the bathroom, and instead opened the door to the chapel and went inside. Grantaire sat down in one of the pews. He had no idea what had caused him to walk in there, but he couldn't bring himself to walk back out.

He sat there in silence for a few minutes before he ended up doing something that he hadn't done since his dad had died in 2010.

He prayed.

***

Enjolras walked in the direction of the chapel. Dr. Albertson had protested him leaving his room, but he needed to find Grantaire. He knew that Grantaire was probably in the chapel. After all, there was only so many places in a hospital you could hide.

He stopped at the doors of the chapel before pushing the door open to walk in. He saw Grantaire sitting in one of the pews. He could hear the small sound of sniffles and sighed. Enjolras walked in the direction to where his boyfriend was sitting. Grantaire heard the footsteps and his head shot up.

"How did you know where to find me?" Grantaire asked as Enjolras sat down.

"There's only so many places in a hospital that you can hide." Enjolras said as he reached for Grantaire's hand, but his boyfriend pulled his hand away. "Love, what's wrong? You ran out of the room for a reason. You already know that I'm going to die, so that shouldn't have come as a surprise."

"It's not that." Grantaire said, wiping a tear that fell from his eye.

"Then what is it?" Enjolras asked.

Grantaire sighed and looked at Enjolras. "It's just so unfair."

"What is?"

"I don't understand how the God that you have such an unwavering faith in, could bring you into my life only to rip you away from me. It makes no sense to me. I don't understand how he could let someone like you. Someone who is so passionate and kind and caring about the wellbeing of others be given an illness that would kill you before you even have a chance to live and fight for a better world? I don't understand it at all." Grantaire told him. Tears welling up again.

Enjolras could feel his own tears start to form. "Love, why didn't you tell me that you were feeling like this?"

"Because I didn't realize that I was feeling like this until Dr. Albertson started talking about your pain medication and what you'd be experiencing in the last few months of your life. I came in here and I prayed for the first time since my dad died." Grantaire explained.

"'Taire..." Enjolras stopped himself.

He wanted to be able to see his boyfriend's face when he spoke the next words. Enjolras stood up and moved Grantaire's hands so that he'd be forced to sit with his back against the back of the pew. He then maneuvered his body to straddle Grantaire's lap.

Enjolras grabbed Grantaire's hands and laced their fingers together. "'Taire, I've thought about that exact same thing, too. I wish I had the answer, but I don't. I just know that I wouldn't change any of it."

Grantaire looked at him in confusion. "What do you mean you wouldn't change any of it?"

"'Taire, I wouldn't change any of it because it gave me the most important person in my life. You." Enjolras cupped Grantaire's face and rested their foreheads together. "You're my angel."

A tear slipped down from Grantaire's eye and Enjolras wiped it away with the pad of his thumb. Grantaire wrapped his hand around Enjolras' wrist. He sighed, and then whispered into the air between them. "I actually think it's the other way around."

They sat in silence for few minutes before Enjolras spoke again. He pulled away from Grantaire. "I need you to promise me something."

"Anything."

"I need you to promise that when I'm gone, you'll continue to live. I know it will be hard. I just need to know that you'll find a way to be happy."

"I promise." Grantaire said

"I love you, so much." Enjolras said. A tear finally slipped from his own eye after he desperately tried to keep them at bay.

"I love you, too."

Enjolras pressed a kiss to Grantaire's forehead before he wrapped his arms around him. Burying his face in Grantaire's neck. Inhaling the scent of cinnamon and paint. Grantaire's arms wrapped around Enjolras' waist. He didn't care about the beautiful, sweet smell that was Enjolras. Instead, Grantaire relished in the feeling of Enjolras being in his arms because he had no idea how much longer he'd have left to hold him.

***

Enjolras was allowed to leave the hospital the next day. Valjean went in to talk to Javert about the doctor's recommendation for Enjolras to be pulled out of school. Javert told Valjean that they'd be able to set Enjolras up with online schooling that he could do when he felt up to it and it would still allow him to graduate in May. When it was discovered that Enjolras would not be returning to school, people started asking questions about what was wrong until Valjean decided to make the official announcement about Enjolras during church.

I spent the time when I wasn't at school at Enjolras' house. I helped Enjolras with his online school work and making sure that he was comfortable despite being cooped up all day. Most nights I wouldn't leave Enjolras' house until Valjean told me it was time to go. When I got back home, I continued working on my very special art project for Enjolras.

Christine came down the stairs at two in the morning. She saw her son sleeping on the couch with paint everywhere on his clothes and skin. Christine smiled as she pulled the blanket that was on the back of the couch over Grantaire. He snuggled down into the comfort of the blanket. Christine pressed a kiss to her son's forehead.

The woman then turned to the object that was keeping her son up most of the night. The beautiful painting for Enjolras. From what she had gathered from her son, it was meant to show Enjolras' idea of utopia. She didn't have a knack for art and didn't really understand what Enjolras' views of the world were, so she didn't even try to figure it out. Christine just knew that the painting would be beautiful when it was complete. She turned back to look at her son before leaving the room to go back upstairs.

A few nights later, it was a quarter past three in the morning. Grantaire was sitting on the stool that was facing his painting. He has the brush in his right hand and palette of paint in the left hand. He was painting the beautiful blue sky of the painting. It was almost finished. The painting just needed a few more finishing touches, and then it was complete.

As Grantaire painted it, he finally realized why making a difference was so important to Enjolras. Equality for everyone. Everyone accepting of each other and all enjoy co-existing on the same planet. No hate or cruelness. Everyone cared for each other. It was the perfect world. The only thing that saddened Grantaire is that Enjolras would never get to attempt to make it happen.

Christine came into the room with a steaming mug of tea. She sat it down on the coffee table and walked up behind him and placed her hand on his shoulder.

"Listen, I got to finish this tonight. You can't force me to go to bed." Grantaire said, moving the brush back and forth on the canvas.

His mother smiled and shook her head, "I'm not here to get you to stop. I just came to say that it looks beautiful and that Enjolras is going to love it when he sees it."

Grantaire smiled. "Thanks, mom." He kissed her cheek before she went back upstairs.

He finally finished the painting at two minutes to four. Grantaire took a few steps back to admire the painting before he signed his signature black "R" in the bottom right hand corner. He had never been very proud of his art, but looking at the painting, he couldn't deny that he had done a damn good job on it. This was one piece of art that Grantaire felt that people did need to see. He couldn't wait to see what Enjolras' reaction was going to be.

Grantaire decided that he would wait before he packed it up. Instead, he did what he had been doing for the past three weeks, he fell to the couch and he was asleep in an instant.

***

Grantaire woke up around two in the afternoon the same day. He quickly stood up to wrap the painting in the box that he had ready and waiting. Once the painting was wrapped up, all nice and tight, Grantaire went up to his bathroom to take a shower and change clothes. When Grantaire came back down the stairs, his mother was sitting on the couch. She had something in her hand and he knew exactly what it is. He walked to stand in front of her. His mother looked up and placed a small velvet box into his palm.

"It's beautiful, "Taire. Enjolras is going to love it." His mother said as she pulled him into a hug.

"That's the idea, mom. Thank you for picking it up this morning." Grantaire said.

His mother nodded. "You're welcome. Now, go. You have a painting to deliver and a boyfriend to propose too."

Grantaire grabbed the painting and pocketed the box. His mother opened the door for him, so he could leave the house. Grantaire opened the car door and placed the painting inside. Once everything was ready to go, he got in the car and drove to Enjolras' house.

He walked up the steps of Enjolras' house. Grantaire rang the doorbell and waited for someone to answer it. The doorknob turned to reveal Valjean with a cup of coffee in his hand. He welcomed Grantaire into the house with a smile. Grantaire walked into the living room with the painting in his hand.

"It's all done?" Valjean asked as he led Grantaire into his office to hide it for the time being.

Grantaire nodded as he set it down. "Finished it this morning around four a.m."

"I'm sure that Enjolras is going to love it."

They walked out of the office. Grantaire looked around for his boyfriend. Normally, he was awake at this time. He turned to Valjean, who was back sitting on the couch, reading the paper with his coffee mug.

"He's upstairs in his room. Sleeping. He had a hard time sleeping after you left last night," Valjean saw the panicked look on Grantaire's face. "Not because of anything serious. He just tossed and turned almost all night. He cried out for you a few times, too. He finally settled down around a quarter past two. Then, he was up again at around nine for breakfast and his medication. He did some work on his online schooling before going back upstairs around noon. I went to check on him about 20 minutes ago, he's all curled up in your green sweatshirt and the plaid blanket that you bought for him a few weeks ago." Valjean explained, taking a sip of his coffee.

"Really?" Grantaire smiled.

Valjean nodded. "Really. Your blanket and sweatshirt are pretty much all he sleeps in nowadays. I'm not sure how much longer he'll be asleep, but you can go on up."

Grantaire turned to go up the stairs. Cosette was coming down the stairs. She smiled when she saw him. He made his way past Cosette.

"Go and cuddle the snuggle bug." Cosette teased causing Grantaire to look back at her and roll his eyes.

Grantaire walked up the stairs to his boyfriend's room. He slowly opened the door and his heart was warmed by the sight. It's not the first time that he'd seen Enjolras asleep. The man had fallen asleep on his shoulder a numerous amount of times, but that didn't make the warm feeling in his chest disappear. Enjolras had the blankets pulled up all the way to his chin. The sunshine illuminated his hair to look like a golden halo. Grantaire could hear the small, soft breathing of his boyfriend as he made his way around the bed.

He lifted the covers, trying not to startle his boyfriend, or Patria, who was sleeping at Enjolras' feet. Grantaire crawled under the covers and pulled Enjolras to him. Enjolras awoke by the sudden movement of his body. He turned around to look at the stranger. He smiled when he saw Grantaire. Enjolras pressed a kiss to Grantaire's lips.

"I didn't mean to wake you." Grantaire said after pulling away.

Enjolras shook his head. "It's okay."

"No, it's not. Your dad told me about you having a hard time sleeping after I left last night. He said you called out for me a few times." Grantaire said

"I might have," Grantaire gave him a look. "Okay, yes. Only because I sleep better when you're by my side. It's like I can sense when you leave because I wake back up and have a hard time going back to sleep." Enjolras explained. "I hate that you have to leave."

Grantaire frowned at his boyfriend. "I know. I hate leaving too, but it's your dad's rule."

"It may be his rule, but he knows that we've already had sex. I don't understand what the big deal about it is." Enjolras said. A pout forming on his face.

Grantaire had to fight back the smile that was forming on his face. The real reason that he had to leave wasn't because of some rule of Valjean's. It was actually because of the painting. He formed a deal with Valjean that he would go home to work on the painting, but once it was done and he and Enjolras were engaged, he would be able to sleep over at the house. With the giving of the painting and proposal happening that day, Grantaire would be able to stay at the house that night.

"Yes, but I'm sure your father will change his mind soon."

"You think?"

"I'm positive." Grantaire said.

***

Later that evening, Grantaire stood in the living room. Cosette stood off to the side. They waited for Valjean to come down with Enjolras. Enjolras had fallen back asleep after Grantaire had arrived. Valjean had pulled Grantaire out of the room when he said that it was time. Grantaire had gone downstairs, while Valjean woke his son.

They heard footsteps on the stairs and Grantaire's head snapped in that direction. Enjolras was slowly making his way down, clutching the railing, wrapped in the blanket Grantaire had given him. Valjean following closely behind in case Enjolras needed him. When Enjolras reached the bottom, Grantaire walked to him. They exchanged a small kiss.

"What's going on? Dad said you had something important to ask me."

"And I do. We'll get to that, but first, there's something I need to give you."

Grantaire led Enjolras to the couch in the living room. Valjean went to stand behind Cosette. His hands on her shoulders. After Enjolras was comfortable on the couch, Grantaire turned around and got the painting. He placed it on Enjolras" lap. Enjolras looked at him with a curious eye before he started opening it. Enjolras let out a small gasp when he saw it.

"It's my dream." Enjolras said, looking at the painting in awe.

The painting was his utopia. His idea of paradise and the way the world should be. The place where everyone was free and equal. No hate. No crime. Enjolras never expected to see that, but somehow his boyfriend had managed to do it. Let him see his dream before he died.

"I wanted to give you a chance to see how you think the world should be before you..." Grantaire cut himself off, still unable to say the word.

Enjolras looked up at him and reached for his hand. He pulled his boyfriend down to kiss him. "Thank you. I love it."

"Can I put it up for you?"

Enjolras nodded as he wiped away a tear. Grantaire took the painting out of his boyfriend's lap. Valjean moved from his spot behind Cosette to help Grantaire put it above the mantle of the fireplace. When the painting was up, Valjean went back to his spot behind his daughter. Cosette grabbed her father's arm and looked up at him. The two shared a knowing smile.

Grantaire bent down to be at eye level with Enjolras. His boyfriend was staring at the painting with a smile on his face. He was too absorbed in his awe to feel Grantaire reach for his hand. Grantaire turned to look at Valjean, who gave him a discreet nod.

"Love," Grantaire called to get Enjolras' attention. Enjolras turned from the painting to look at Grantaire. "Do you love me?"

Enjolras gave Grantaire a confused look. "Of course, I do."

"Will you do something for me then?"

"Anything."

Grantaire reached into his pocket and pulled out the velvet box. He opened it up to reveal a golden band with a diamond embedded in the middle. On the inside of the band, it had their initials, E+G, and on the outside it had, FOREVER, engraved on it. Enjolras felt tears begin to form in his eyes at the sight of the ring knowing exactly what was happening.

"Will you marry me?"

Enjolras smiled at Grantaire before nodding enthusiastically and saying, "Yes."

Grantaire returned the smile before taking the ring out of the box and slipping it on Enjolras' finger. Enjolras pulled Grantaire to him to kiss him. Grantaire wrapped his arms around his fiancé's waist before picking him up and spinning him around. When Enjolras was set down, he pulled away from Grantaire to rest their foreheads together.

"I love you." he whispered into the air between them.

"And I, you."

***

That night, Valjean opened the door to Enjolras' bedroom. When he entered, he saw his son and his fiancé sound asleep. Grantaire had an arm around Enjolras' waist. Enjolras' head was resting on his chest with their hands locked together. The engagement ring shining in the moonlight. He could see that Enjolras had Grantaire's sweatshirt on and was wrapped once again in the blanket. Their puppy was sleeping at their feet.

Valjean smiled at the sight. He walked to the bed and leaned down to press a kiss to Enjolras' forehead. He stood back up and quietly made his way out of the room.

"I love you, daddy." He heard Enjolras whisper before falling asleep again.

Valjean could feel tears form in his eyes as he closed the door and walked into his own bedroom.

***

A few days after the engagement, the wedding planning begun. Both of them knew that it had to be as soon as possible. They agreed that it would be the week before their high school graduation. They ignored the whispers of shock and pity around the town as the news of their engagement spread.

They sat on the porch swing of Enjolras' house, planning their wedding. Patria sleeping in the doggy bed next to them. Enjolras sat on Grantaire's lap, wrapped in the sweatshirt and blanket. Grantaire had his arms wrapped around his waist. Enjolras also had a list of names of people who would need to be invited to the wedding. Both of them had already agreed that the only place to have the wedding was the church in Alexandria.

"Okay, so now that we have our list of people, Cosette and Jehan can start on the invitations." Enjolras said. "Now, have you made your decision on your best man?"

"Joly and Bossuet said that they'd be okay sharing the duty like Combeferre and Courfeyrac are." Grantaire said.

Enjolras made the note on the notebook. "Okay, with the best men figured out. Jehan has us scheduled for an appointment to look for tuxes on Saturday at three."

"Sounds good, but can you make me a promise?" Grantaire asked, and Enjolras nodded. "Promise me that you won't strain yourself with this. If you start getting tired or anything while we are at the appointment, you'll tell me and we can leave."

"'Taire, we only have six weeks-"

"I know that, love, but as much as this wedding means to me, you mean so much more. I just want you to pace yourself, okay?"

Enjolras rolled his eyes and smiled, "Yes, okay."

He leaned in to press a kiss to Grantaire's lips. They pull away when they hear footsteps on the porch. Enjolras smiled at Grantaire.

"That's probably my dad telling me it's time to come in." Enjolras whispered. Grantaire looked over his fiancé's shoulder and his smile faded when he see Bahorel, Eponine, and Feuilly.

"It's actually not your dad." Grantaire said.

"Of course, it is. Who else would it..." Enjolras stopped talking when he turned his head.

Patria woke up at the sound of the footsteps. She stood up and started growling at the three newcomers. Grantaire turned to the puppy and commanded her to stop growling. Patria stopped, but stood next to the couple in protection.

"Joly was right, the puppy is very cute." Feuilly said.

Grantaire rolled his eyes. "Yes, she is, but I'm sure to see a puppy isn't the reason that you came. So, why are you here?"

Feuilly turned to the other two, signaling for them to say something. Eponine is the one who steps forward as Bahorel is still reluctant.

"Joly told us about Enjolras' condition. We came to apologize for the flyers and the teasing. We could see the change that Enjolras was creating in you and we didn't like it." Eponine said.

Grantaire rolled his eyes in response, refusing to say anything. Enjolras answered. "It's fine."

"No, it's not. We didn't understand what was happening between you two, but we understand it now. You were meant to be together." Feuilly replied.

"I'm serious, it's okay." Enjolras replied.

Enjolras moved his hand to put a strand of hair behind his ear, flashing his engagement ring. Eponine is lucky enough to see it before he hid it again. "So, when is the wedding?"

Grantaire smiled as he pulled Enjolras closer to him. "The Saturday before graduation."

Feuilly, Eponine, and Bahorel all exchange a look before saying in unison. "Congratulations." They turned to leave.

Enjolras turned to Grantaire, silently pleading with him to say something. Grantaire shook his head before Enjolras gave him a stern look with a raised eyebrow. Grantaire finally relented with a roll of his eyes.

"Wait!" Grantaire called, and his former friends stop.

Grantaire placed his arms under Enjolras' knees and lifted him up. He set him back down before turning to his friends. They were all standing there, awaiting to hear what Grantaire had to say. Enjolras looked on with a proud smile.

"Look, I'm not like Enjolras, I can't forgive what you guys did as easily as he can." Grantaire explained with his hands in his pockets. Bahorel looked like he was about to say something, but Grantaire stopped him. "However, I am willing to try and forgive you, but on one condition. The teasing ends. Enjolras is the man that I'm in love with. He is the man that I am going to marry in six weeks. Nothing is going to change that. I will not stand for him getting teased or hurt. I refuse to let his last months on this planet be filled with teasing and hateful comments. If you guys can live by that one condition, we can try to be friends again." Grantaire tells them.

They all nod enthusiastically before they are interrupted by the door opening. Grantaire saw Valjean standing in the door, signaling that it was time for Enjolras to come in. Patria had already ran inside. Grantaire turned to his fiancé to help him, but Enjolras waved him off. His fiancé slowly made his way inside the house. When he got to the doorway, he turned to Grantaire.

"You coming?" Enjolras asks.

"Actually, do you mind if we keep Grantaire out here for a few more minutes?" Feuilly asked.

"It's his choice." Enjolras told them.

Grantaire replied. "I'll be there in a few minutes."

Enjolras nodded before walking all the way in. When the door closed, Grantaire turned back to the other three. Bahorel asked the first question.

"How long does he have?"

Grantaire sighed, "The doctor said six months or so. Maybe more. Maybe less."

"There's nothing they can do?" Feuilly asked.

Grantaire shook his head. "He stopped responding to treatment a long time ago. All they can do is make him as comfortable as possible."

Eponine asked the next question. "How's he doing otherwise?"

"Some days are worse than others. Enjolras gets tired a lot easier. Cosette, Valjean, and I have to watch what he eats. We're pretty much doing anything possible to make sure that he lives as long as possible." Grantaire explained. "Listen, guys, I'd love to stay and talk more, but Enjolras needs me, so I should probably..." He trails off, gesturing toward the door.

"Of course, go and be with him." Bahorel said.

"We'll see you later, R." Feuilly said.

They walk off the porch and down the sidewalk. Grantaire watched them walk away before he opened the door to go inside.

***

The day of the wedding came quickly. The guests had been arriving for the last half hour. Grantaire had been standing to greet most of them before Jehan would usher them to their seats. Finally, after the final guests arrived, the wedding was ready to begin.

"Ready?" Valjean asked Grantaire.

The future son-in-law nodded before walking into the sanctuary of the church, followed by Valjean, and then both pairs of best men. They all turned to watch the aisle as Jehan opened the doors to reveal Enjolras in his white tuxedo with Cosette by his side.

Enjolras slowly made his way down the aisle until he reached Grantaire. Cosette placed Enjolras's hand in Grantaire's before taking her seat next to Marius as Valjean began the ceremony.

"Well, instead of saying the normal opening, I'm going to start with something a little different. I'm going to be reading my wife's favorite Bible verse by request of my son, Julien," Valjean started. "'Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people's sins, but delights in the truth. It is ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.'" Now, the vows. Grantaire, if you will."

Grantaire grasped both of Enjolras' hands and smiled. "Before you, I had no goals for my life. My grades were slipping. I didn't care about anything. Then, I got to know you and it all changed. I knew what I wanted to do with my life and I started having faith again, but I have only ever believed in one person. That person is you. I love you, so much. I know that our time together is running out, and my heart breaks whenever I think about it. However, I do promise that no matter what happens, my love is forever. You are my soulmate and my other half. My light. My love. The Achilles to my Patroclus. I love you, Enjolras, and I'm never letting you go."

Enjolras had tears running down his cheek, so Grantaire lifted his hand to wipe away the tears before taking his love's hand again. Valjean nodded to Enjolras to begin.

Enjolras took a deep breath to collect his thoughts before beginning. "Once I was diagnosed, I knew that falling in love with someone was out of the question. But then, you came along. You got under my skin, and no matter what I did, I couldn't shake you. I fell in love with you, and I have never looked back. You mean the absolute world to me. You know that I'm not ready to say goodbye when the time comes, and I don't think I ever will be, but I do know that what we have is forever. You are my Grantaire, and despite what's going to happen, I will always be thankful that I had your love to give me strength. I love you." Enjolras finished, tears streaming down his cheeks.

Valjean smiled before wiping his own tears away. "Okay, time for the rings," Combeferre handed Valjean one the rings. Grantaire's ring. He held it up. "We all know the symbol of the ring. It's a never ending circle to signify the unbroken love between these two gentlemen," He handed the ring to Enjolras. "Julien, with this ring, do you take Nicolas to be your lawfully wedded husband. To love, honor, cherish, and to protect him, forsaking all others, as long as you both shall live?"

As Enjolras slipped the ring onto Grantaire's finger, he whispered the words. "I do."

Joly then handed Valjean Enjolras's ring, who then gave it to Grantaire. "Nicolas, with this ring, do you take Julien to be your lawfully wedded husband. To love, honor, cherish, and to protect him, forsaking all others, as long as you both shall live?"

"I do," Grantaire said, slipping the ring onto Enjolras' finger.

Valjean smiled before saying the very last thing. "By the power vested in me, and by the state of North Carolina, I now pronounce you husband and husband. Grantaire, you may now kiss him since I know you are dying too."

Grantaire gently pulled Enjolras to him before pressing their lips together. He wrapped his arms around Enjolras' waist before lifting him up off the floor. The thunderous applause from the crowd grew as the kiss became more passionate, but the lovers couldn't hear it because they were too wrapped in each other. Enjolras soon pulled away from Grantaire to press their foreheads together and they smiled at each other.

"I love you, my husband." Enjolras whispered, so quietly that no one heard him.

Grantaire smile grew. "Not as much as I love you, husband."

"I seriously doubt that." Enjolras told him.

They pulled apart to turn to the crowd of the guests before walking down the aisle, hand and hand.

***

We did have a wedding reception, but it wasn't until much later in the day. We had the wedding at one and the reception at five. It gave Enjolras a chance to rest up beforehand. We ate. People gave speeches and congratulated us. Finally, we had our first dance as husband and husband. We stayed until Enjolras was exhausted and I had to carry him home.

Graduation was the Saturday after. I graduated with a final 3.4 GPA because while Enjolras took classes online, I did as well. Retaking all the courses that I had flunked out of in just a matter of weeks. I had to do it in order to go to college. Enjolras had decided that it would be best if he didn't walk with the rest of the graduating class, even though he passed all of his online classes. So, while I and the rest of our friends walked, Enjolras sat in the front row. He would still be called up to receive his diploma and make one final farewell speech to his class, other students, and faculty of the school.

Now, as for the summer. Enjolras and I had a perfect summer together. With more love than most people will ever know in a lifetime, but the fact that Enjolras was dying hung over each and every one of us like it was storm cloud.

In the last part of June, Valjean, Cosette, Patria, Enjolras, and I all took a trip up to Virginia to visit both sides of his family. We told Enjolras that it was just a chance to catch up, but he could see right through it. He knew it was one last chance to say goodbye. The day we started back home, I held Enjolras as he cried in the backseat of the car.

Enjolras continued to go to church, but when the questions of how he was doing got to be too much for him to handle, he begged his dad to let him stop. Valjean let him. So, on Enjolras' final day of being in his father's church in the middle of July, he gave what would later be known as "The Final Speech".

As the summer drew to August, Enjolras' health had started to go from bad to worse. The doctor's had given him the maximum dosage of pain medication. Enjolras had grown very pale and weak. If he wanted to be moved somewhere, someone would have to carry him. We all started counting the days for how long we'd have left with him. Our friends spent more and more time at the house than they ever had before.

I was supposed to be starting classes at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, but after explaining to the dean that my husband was very ill and I needed to be with him, he decided that it would be best for me to start classes during the second semester. Enjolras has been angry with me at first, but after I explained that I wasn't leaving him no matter his protests.

Finally, three weeks before September, Enjolras collapsed and needed to be hospitalized. However, Enjolras being his stubborn self, refused to die in a hospital. He wanted to die in the house that he had grown up in. After making many convincing arguments, the doctors released him, but on the condition that Valjean hired a live-in nurse and that he be put on bed rest.

He hated the order of lying in bed all day, but we couldn't do anything. It was bad enough that he couldn't move or be touched without feeling some sort of pain. Our friends still came to see him, but for the most part he was left alone with just me which now leads me to September 13, 2015, the night Enjolras went, with his unfailing faith.

Grantaire lied with Enjolras on their bed, holding his husband as close and gently as possible. Enjolras had been crying for the last hour about how much it hurt. Grantaire had been silently crying because he knew there was nothing he could do to help him. He felt Enjolras wince in pain at a sudden movement, and a tear slipped out.

"Love, it hurts." Enjolras cried. His voice sounding so small.

Another tear came down his cheek. "I know, I know. I'm so sorry, my love. Just know that I'm here and I'm not going anywhere." Grantaire replied.

Enjolras continued to cry, but it soon subsided and they just lay there in the silence of the room. The only sound was Grantaire's breathing and Enjolras' shallow breathing. Grantaire eventually breaks the silence.

"You know, 'Jolras, it is okay if you want to let go. I'll be okay."

Enjolras shook his head. More tears slipping out his eye. "I can't. I don't want to go. I'm not ready to leave," Grantaire kissed his husband's forehead. Enjolras reached for his left hand and removed his wedding band from his ring finger. He held it up to Grantaire. "I need you to take this. I don't want it buried with me."

Grantaire shook his head in refusal. "'Jolras, I can't. I won't."

"'Taire, please. I need you to take it." Enjolras begged.

Grantaire took the ring from his hand. He gripped it in his own hand. "You really have no idea how much I love you." He told Enjolras.

Enjolras did his best to look up his husband. "I'm sure I know exactly how much because I love you just as much. If not more."

Grantaire leaned down as Enjolras stretched up to press their lips together in what they didn't know would be their last kiss. Grantaire pulled Enjolras to him as close as he could possibly get. Enjolras closed his eyes to try to sleep.

***

The next morning, when Grantaire woke up, he didn't even have to open his eyes to know that Enjolras was gone. He could tell just by the way that Enjolras' body was as still as a statue. His own body became wracked with sobs as he gathered his husband's body in his arms. The nurse came in to give Enjolras his medicine, but when she saw the state that Grantaire was in, she backed up out of the room to wake up Valjean and Cosette and call the paramedics.

Valjean and Cosette came running into the room. Grantaire looked up as he continued to cry. Valjean had tears in his eyes, but they hadn't fallen yet. Cosette was already crying. His father-in-law walked around the bed to try and get Grantaire to release the body of his son, but no matter how hard he tried, Grantaire wouldn't release him. Finally, the paramedics came and Grantaire was forced to let go. Cosette wrapped her arms around him, so they could cry together as Enjolras was taken away from them.

When they had calmed down enough, Grantaire remembered that Enjolras had given him his wedding band. He unhooked the cross necklace that Enjolras had given him as a wedding present and slipped the ring on the necklace. From the moment it was placed around his neck again, Grantaire never removed the necklace from his neck for the rest of his life. Not once.

***

The funeral was held about a week later. Valjean had called up his oldest friend, Myriel, to do the funeral ceremony. Myriel had spent the last week with Valjean and Cosette, getting to know the family and Enjolras. Grantaire had come to visit him and introduce himself to Myriel and explain what his relation was to the family, but for the most part, he stayed away. Needing to deal with the grief of losing the love of his life on his own.

Grantaire, Christine, Cosette, and Valjean sat in the front row of the pews in the church with family and friends spread all around the church. Enjolras' closed casket sat in the middle of the aisle. Flowers were all around the sanctuary. One of Enjolras' senior pictures was sitting next to the casket.

The funeral began with Myriel saying a prayer and talking a little about Enjolras and what he was like. Grantaire sat, staring at floor, not showing any sign of movement and barely listening to what was going on around him. Myriel eventually finished reading a Bible verse about death before he called up a few select people (Combeferre, Courfeyrac, Jehan, Cosette, and Grantaire) to talk about Enjolras. Grantaire didn't even hear what the others were saying until he heard his name being called.

"Now, I would like to welcome Grantaire, a very special friend of Enjolras', to come and speak." Myriel said.

Grantaire scoffed when he heard the words "friend". He stood up and walked towards the podium.

"I was his husband, actually." Grantaire said. He looked at the group of people sitting in front of him. Then, his eyes fell on Enjolras' casket. "Um...I really have no idea what to say. We all knew about his illness. There was nothing we could do, no matter how hard we wanted too. All I know is that I loved Enjolras and I would have done anything for him. We had forever in just a few months. I know that there are people in this room who still question how the pastor's son and the town rebel could fall in love, but guess what, you don't need to understand because Enjolras and I did, and that's all that matters. Our love is safely tucked away in a place where no one will ever find it." Grantaire could feel the lump in his throat start to build, so he quickly wrapped up what he was saying by looking out the stain glass window and whispered. "I love you, Enjolras."

Grantaire walked back to his seat. His mother put her arm around him. Myriel finished up the service before the pallbearers would take the casket to the hearse. Every one drove to the cemetery and pallbearers took the casket from the hearse and walked it to the hole in the ground that would be Enjolras' final resting place.

Once the casket was on the lowering device, Myriel said a prayer before the lowering began. Grantaire stood next to his mother, refusing to let the tears that were in his eyes fall. Once his husband's casket had finished lowering, they removed the lowering device and, one by one, each of the people that had been closest to Enjolras walked up to the grave to throw a handful of dirt on top of it. Jehan and Courfeyrac started it, followed by Combeferre. Then, Cosette and Valjean. The last person was Grantaire.

Grantaire was holding his mother's arm like a vice. His mom shook her son from the trance like state that he was in. He started moving slowly towards the grave. Grantaire could feel the pity from the eyes that were on him. The pile of dirt sat at the edge of the grave like it was mocking him and he glared at it as he bent down to pick up his handful. Grantaire threw it on the grave before he slowly moved his way back towards his mother. The tears that he was desperately trying to hold back began to fall. Once his mother's arms were around him, Grantaire started sobbing which caused him to eventually crumble to his knees. Christine followed, doing her best to muffle the crying as Myriel said one final prayer before the crowd dispersed to head to Valjean's house for a final gathering to offer their condolences to Enjolras' family and friends.

Once the grave was done being filled with dirt, Grantaire pulled himself away from Christine's arms and crawled to it. He buried his hands in the dirt as his mother tried to pull him away, but Grantaire asked her to just leave him for a few minutes. Christine walked to where Joly, Bossuet, Bahorel, and Eponine were waiting.

"Is he okay?" Bossuet said.

Christine shook her head. "Not yet, but he will be. In time."

"I wish there was something we could have do." Joly exclaimed with his eyes on his crying best friend.

"We all do." Christine said.

Bahorel spoke next. "Should we tell him that it's time to head to Valjean's house?"

Christine turned her eyes to her son. "No, he needs one last opportunity to say goodbye in peace. We should give him that. He'll be along soon."

The five of them took their eyes off of Grantaire and started walking to the cars to drive to Valjean's house to pay their respects.

Later that day, Grantaire sat on the porch swing of Valjean's house with Patria at his side. He didn't want to go in and have to hear about how sorry everyone was about him losing his husband. He just wanted to be left alone for a while. Apparently, that wasn't going to be followed because Cosette came out to sit next to him.

"Grantaire, you know that if you want to talk, we are here."

Grantaire sighed. "Cosette, thank you, but for now I just want to be left alone."

He got up from the porch swing and walked down the steps, Patria at his heels. Grantaire went to sit on the sidewalk next to the road. Patria laid down as close to him as she possibly could. Marius came out to sit next to Cosette. Combeferre, Courfeyrac, Jehan, Joly, Bossuet, Feuilly, Bahorel, and Eponine soon all followed. All of them could see Grantaire's body shaking with sobs.

"Someone should go and see if he's alright." Joly said.

Cosette shook her head. "No, if he wants to be alone, we should let him be alone."

"I have to disagree. In mourning, no one should be alone." Combeferre told them.

They turned to look at Jehan, who was already starting his way down the steps. They all knew that Jehan was the best source of comfort to receive in times like these. Jehan walked down the sidewalk to Grantaire and sit down next to him.

"How are you doing?" Jehan asks. Regretting the moment the words they were said.

Grantaire looked at him in disbelief. "Seriously? I just buried the love of my life and you are asking me how I'm doing. How do you think I'm doing?" He saw the look of hurt on Jehan's face and quickly apologized and started crying again.

Jehan pulled him into his arms. Grantaire buried his face in Jehan's neck as he cried. Jehan did his best to comfort him while he held back his own tears.

***

In the weeks that followed, Grantaire didn't move or eat. He didn't do anything except sleep and sob. When he was awake, Grantaire stared at the wall. He stayed in bed, clutching Enjolras' red sweatshirt. His mother and friends all tried to coax him to eat, but when they brought a tray of food in, he wouldn't touch it because he didn't have any energy. When Grantaire did have the energy, all he took were a few bites.

Patria stayed by his side. She wasn't the ball of energy that she used to be. Grantaire had no idea that what people said about dogs knowing what was going on was true until his only source of comfort was the puppy that he had co-parented. When he cried, Patria crawled as close as she could to him until he finished.

Christine wanted to help her son, but there was nothing she could do. When she would be lying in bed at night and she could hear him crying for Enjolras, her heart would break all over again. When she had lost her own husband, she had felt as if her heart had been ripped out and that nothing could ever hurt her as much again. However, watching her son go through the exact same thing, she realized that she was wrong.

One day, about ten weeks after Enjolras' death, Valjean and Cosette stopped by with a pan of lasagna and the photo album of Enjolras and Grantaire's wedding. She had allowed them to borrow it for Enjolras' wake and the gathering after the funeral. Christine led them into the living room after placing the album and lasagna on the kitchen table.

"How is he doing?" Cosette asked.

Christine sighed. "It's been over a month. He won't eat. If he tries to sleep, he'll wake up screaming for Enjolras. He won't leave that bed."

"There has to be something we can do." Cosette said.

"He's grieving. Remember out of all of us, we all knew that this was going to be the hardest on Grantaire." Valjean told them.

Christine nodded before she remembered something. "Wait, there might be something," She stood up and walked to the book shelf to retrieve an envelope. She turned back to face the pastor and his daughter. "There's this. It's a letter that Enjolras wrote for Grantaire."

Cosette stood up and looked at the letter. "He wrote one for all of us. We all received ours a few days after Enjolras' funeral. You haven't given it to Grantaire, yet?"

"Unlike the rest of you, Enjolras came and personally handed me this. Told me to wait to give it to Grantaire until a certain amount of time has passed." His mother explained.

"I don't want to go against my son's wish, but Grantaire needs to read whatever is in that letter." Valjean said.

Christine looked from the letter to Cosette to Valjean, and then back to the letter. "I'll wait a few more days before I give it to him."

***

By the end of week, Grantaire still wasn't doing any better and Christine decided it was time to take action. She warmed up a plate of the lasagna that Valjean and Cosette had brought over to bring up to Grantaire along with a glass of milk. She placed both items on a tray before carrying it up to him. Enjolras' letter tucked safely in her back pocket.

She opened the door to her son's bedroom and was once again not surprised by what she saw. Grantaire staring at the wall, Patria lying next to him. His mother set the food on the table before sitting down on the bed. Time for the tough love speech.

"Grantaire, it's been over a month. We are all worried about you. I get that Enjolras was the love of your life, but it's time for you to pick up the pieces and find a way to move on with your life. I know that it is not-"

Grantaire cut off his mother as he sat up. "I do not want to hear you say that you know what I'm going through because you don't. I get that you also lost the man you loved, mom, but you had 20 years with dad. I only had nine months with Enjolras. Nine fucking months." Tears welling in his eyes

Christine was taken aback and shocked by the words that came out of her son's mouth. "I understand that, Grantaire, but you can't just stop living because you feel like you can't live without him. Enjolras wouldn't-"

"Wouldn't want this, I know." Grantaire finished for her. "But mom, when he died, I lost half of my soul. I can't just move past from that. So, if you will leave me alone." He gestured toward the door and moved to be facing away from her.

"Fine." His mother stood from the bed. She removed the letter from her pocket and placed it on the bedside table. "Maybe this will help you." She said before picking up the tray from the night before and walked out of the room.

When the door shut, Grantaire turned to see what his mother left. He saw an envelope with his name written on it in Enjolras' cursive scrawl. He quickly grabbed it. Grantaire traced his name a few times before opening the letter. He unfolded it and saw tear stains on the paper, some of them smudging the words, but most of them in the margins. Grantaire noticed the date and saw that it had been written during the time that they had been visiting Enjolras' other family members. He began reading.

6-19-15

My darling Grantaire,

I have no idea where to start. I've been looking at this piece of paper for the past hour and a half with no idea what to say. All the other letters I wrote, I knew what I needed to say, but what do I say to you? The person I love more than anything on this entire planet?

I guess I'll start by saying that I always knew that I wanted to go to college, have a job, get married, and start a family. Then, I was diagnosed with leukemia and everything I had planned for my life shattered. Until you. You gave it back to me. You gave me the greatest gift of all. Your love. You loved me enough to marry me despite knowing that our marriage would be cut short. I'll never be able to thank you enough for that beautiful gift and I love you so much because of it.

I am scared, Grantaire. I know that you think that I'm fearless, but I'm not. I'm scared of leaving my friends and my family, but I'm scared of leaving you, most of all. I am absolutely terrified of leaving you. There have been times where I've just stayed awake as you slept next to me, silently crying at the thought of leaving you. I am not ready and I don't think I ever will be.

The time keeps flying by and I realize that the days, hours, and minutes I have left with you are dwindling. That realization hurts more than anything ever has.

As I write this I can't help, but think of one of Jehan's favorite poems. "Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allan Poe. Specifically, the line "we loved with a love that was more than a love". I know what that feels like now because that was us. We have a love that nobody understands, but we do and that's all that matters. I know that no matter how far apart we are, that will always remain true. I have known what forever is because I see it in your eyes every time I look at you.

Thank you that despite this illness, you made me feel invincible. You made me feel like I could do anything as long as I had you by my side. Thank you that as I grew weaker and my skin grew paler, you still called me the most beautiful person you have ever seen. Thank you for being the complete opposite of me and challenging me. Thank you for helping me with my bucket list. Thank you for just believing in me and letting me soar. Thank you for just loving me.

I do, however, have a confession to make. The play that Combeferre wrote that brought us together. It was a metaphor. A metaphor of my love for you. I have had a crush on you for years prior to our relationship. Combeferre needed to write something and with my permission, he wrote that story. A story where I could express my love for you without you knowing it had a deeper meaning. You were my "only hope".

You made me a promise when we were sitting in the chapel at the hospital. You promised me that you would live after I'm gone. I know that it will be hard, but I need you to do that for me. That is the one thing that I ask of you. And I will promise something in return. I will wait for you at Heaven's gate. No matter how long it takes.

Find a way to be happy. Whether that's by to art school or not. Owning an art gallery. I don't care how you do it, I just want you to find something to live for. I need you to live. I need you to believe in yourself as much as I believe in you. Please, my love. Please.

You are the love of my life. My beautiful, intelligent, talented, handsome, yet infuriating Grantaire. You will always be my soulmate. My one true love. You are my Grantaire, and I wouldn't trade what we had for anything.

Take care of our Patria for me, please. She'll need you as much as you'll need her.

I love you, and I always will.

Forever yours,

Enjolras

Grantaire was sobbing by the time he had finished reading. He hugged the letter to himself as he cried. He pulled the letter away from his chest to look at the final words that his husband left him.

Looking at those words gave Grantaire the strength to finally realize that he couldn't spend his life wasting away. He made a promise to Enjolras, and Grantaire would do whatever it took to keep that promise.

He looked down at the necklace around his neck and grabbed it. Grantaire brought it to his lips to kiss it before whispering into his hand.

"I will always love you, Enjolras."

***

If it hadn't been for that letter, I would probably not be here right now. That letter gave me the strength to live again. So, afterward, I picked up the pieces and found a way to move forward. I went to college to receive my art degree. I mostly spent my time doing commissions for people and picking up odd jobs here and there. But during all of this, I never fell in love again. Sure, I went out on dates, but like I had told my mom. When Enjolras died, he took a part of me with him. The part that couldn't be revived by anyone.

It still took me seven years, however, to find the courage to return to Haven. All to learn something that I never knew.

Seven years later,

Grantaire drove to Valjean's house from Richmond, Virginia. He arrived outside the house and just stared at it. The last time he'd been in the house was to help Cosette and Valjean pack up some of Enjolras' stuff. He waited a few minutes to gather the courage to get out of the car and walk up the steps.

He rang the doorbell. A woman, the housekeeper, opened it up.

"Hello, Grantaire. Come in." The woman said.

Grantaire followed the housekeeper into the living room. She told him to wait there while she went to get Valjean. He set his bag that he was carrying next to the couch. Grantaire walked to stand in front of the mantle where he saw one of his and Enjolras' wedding photos. He smiled at it. He heard footsteps and turned to see Valjean in the doorway of the study.

"Grantaire." Valjean smiled. Valjean walked toward Grantaire to give him a hug before they sat down. "So, what's new, Grantaire?"

"Well, I am now the curator of the Richmond Historical Art Museum." Grantaire said with a smile.

Valjean smiled as well. "Your mother told me that. We are so proud of you. Enjolras would have been proud of you, too."

"I hope so."

"He would have been." Valjean assured. They sat in silence for a couple seconds before Valjean asked another question. "How's the foundation?"

Three years after Enjolras' death, Grantaire and Cosette founded the Julien Enjolras Cancer Foundation. It was a non-profit charity organization that raised leukemia awareness and funded research. They held marathons, bake sales, talent shows, and fairs. Anything that would help raise money. It had been Cosette's idea and Grantaire had fallen in love with it.

"It's great. Cosette is putting the final preparations for our 3k or 5k run on Saturday." Grantaire said as Valjean nodded. Grantaire reached down and pulled his bag onto the couch. He opened it and grabbed Enjolras' mother's book from inside. Grantaire held it out for Valjean to take. "I want you to have this."

Valjean leaned forward in his seat to take it. "Oh, Grantaire." He looked at the binding and cover. He looked at Grantaire and said, sincerely. "Thank you."

Grantaire looked away from his father-in-law and sighed before looking back and saying. "I'm sorry he never got his miracle."

Valjean looked at Grantaire, confused. "But he did. It was you."

It took everything in Grantaire not to start crying. He simply took a deep breath and smiled.

***

July 2032

"I was his miracle and I never knew it until that moment." Grantaire said, looking at his niece and nephew. "For years, following Enjolras' death, I lived in anger. Angry at Enjolras for dying despite knowing there was nothing neither of us could have done. Angry at God for taking him from me. Angry at everyone around me. It wasn't until Valjean told me that I was his miracle that the anger I felt disappeared."

The room was quiet because they were still trying to process the story of what was just told. Everyone in the room, except the two children, had lived the epic love story that Enjolras and Grantaire had, but it was still a story that could affect them.

Catherine, despite being the youngest in the room, had been moved to tears that she could barely ask Grantaire her next question. "Do you miss him?"

Grantaire smiled. "More and more every day. I know that one day I'll see him again, but until then I know that he's with me. Everywhere I go. He's there."

"What happened to Patria?" Catherine asked.

Grantaire chuckled at the innocence of a child. "I took care of her after that like Enjolras had asked me too until she died a few years ago at the age of 13."

Cosette, who was wiping away a tear from her eye, stood up and told her children that it was time to go outside and play. Her children do as they are told with little fight.

Once the children are gone, they are turned to Grantaire like they are waiting for him to break. Grantaire realized that, but doesn't say anything. Instead, he just got up from his spot and walked out of the room into the kitchen. Everyone moved to go talk to him, but it was Valjean, who beat them to it.

"I got it. You guys talk amongst yourselves." Valjean got up and left the room while the others went back to their conversations from before. He found Grantaire in the kitchen, tears staining his cheeks and his eyes red.

"I'm sorry for getting up and leaving like that, but I needed to get out there." Grantaire said.

Valjean walked up to Grantaire. "Hey, it's okay. I understand. It is more than okay."

"It's just...he should be here, and he's not, and I can't handle it." A new batch of tears fell from Grantaire's eyes. Valjean pulled him into an embrace.

He just let Grantaire cry into his shoulder for a few minutes before whispering into his son-in-law's ear. "You know where you have to go. You've been in Haven for four days, and I know that you haven't been there, yet."

"Are you sure?" Grantaire asked him, knowing exactly what he was talking about.

Valjean nodded. "If they ask, I'll tell them that you needed to step out for fresh air. Go."

Grantaire nodded and rushed out of the house.

***

About twenty minutes later, Grantaire found himself walking through the cemetery. A bouquet of red roses in hand. He finally found the headstone that he was looking for. Grantaire stood in front of it before kneeling.

Julien Enjolras

October 1, 1997-September 13, 2015

Beloved Husband

Son

Brother

Friend

Grantaire placed the roses next to the headstone. He took the cross and ring of his necklace in hand as he spoke to the headstone.

"It's your father's 73rd birthday today. I'm here because it didn't feel right being there." Grantaire said. He chuckled. "I told our niece and nephew our story. Catherine started crying and Stefan looked like he was about there. Apparently, our love has an effect on people," Grantaire stopped for a second before continuing. "My life has been great for the most part. I'm making a name for myself, which as you know, is something I never thought would happen. Besides, that I spend my days working, sleeping, and eating. You asked me to live, but you never said in what way, so you can't be mad at me."

One tear falls from Grantaire's eye and he wiped it away. "I miss you, so much, but no matter wherever you are I can always feel you. It's like our love. I can't see it, but I can feel it. Whether you knew it or not, you taught me everything. About life, hope, faith, and above all, love. You saved my life." Grantaire told the headstone as tears fell freely. "I will always love you, Enjolras."

Grantaire stood up and wiped his tears away. Before walking away, he put two fingers to his mouth and kissed them before placing them on the headstone. Grantaire turned to walk out of the cemetery. As he was walking out, a breeze in the wind came and he stopped walking.

"I love you." Enjolras' voice said.

Grantaire smiled before walking again.