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Earth is middle ground—the closest thing they get to a neutral zone even though it's the biggest battleground they have as well, so that's where they're left. Cosette, escorting Grantaire, is full of too-bright, worried words about alliances and understanding, about the Plan that Grantaire is helping with, about the reconciliation of heaven and hell. “It's happened before,” she says as they get close, cheer dropping away. “Angels and demons are from the same stock, they've been friends before. It could happen again.”

Grantaire knows punishment when he feels it, but he doesn't have the heart to tell her that.

Enjolras is in the home that's been chosen for them when Cosette and Grantaire get there, already alone, and he doesn't look happy even though Grantaire remembers him before he fell, talking about this very reconciliation. Maybe it's just Grantaire who displeases him. His frown certainly speaks to that. “So you're my—”

“Husband,” supplies Grantaire, because it's close enough, and better than any word he thinks Enjolras will have for it. This is a marriage, in many ways, if not in every human sense. It makes Enjolras look sour, and Grantaire tests that. “Where you go, I will go, and all.” Just because humans wrote the words doesn't mean the hosts of heaven and hell can't read them.

“My husband, then.” The words sound odd from Enjolras, like he resents either the fact or the humanity of them.

Cosette, standing quietly by, frowns between them and then turns to Grantaire. “You'll be all right?”

He shrugs. “It's the Plan, isn't it?”

Cosette knows a “no” when she hears one, but she only kisses him on the forehead and fades tactfully away, leaving him in a cozy city apartment that feels cold and empty, Enjolras already turning away with a frown.

*

From far away, humanity looks like a bleak mass with very few bright spots, hard to save and hard to damn in equal measure. Up close, though, Grantaire finds himself fascinated by them, all their little joys and sorrows and pettinesses that don't make them either good or evil. He learns the taste of wine and finds that he likes it better than ambrosia. He learns about sex, about the clean adrenaline of a fight, about all the things humans and heaven have called sins, and finds that they aren't a temptation, just a fact of life.

Enjolras, full of words about humanity's potential both for great good and great evil, seems baffled by them. He doesn't understand their desire for quiet little lives, how easily they let the tide of the world pull them along without having a hand of it, and he frowns at Grantaire whenever he comes home and tries, smiling, to engage Enjolras's interest. Every time, he says there are bigger things to discover, to try for.

“We're not supposed to be here with plans for the world,” Grantaire says one night, when he's tired, body and heart both. His body is more human than he's used to, requires rest and sleep and food, but the desire for affection and attention is all his. “We're supposed to be here with plans for each other. That's why we're here.”

“You think heaven and hell just want us to sit here, to wait for some miracle to let us get along?”

“No.” That brings Enjolras up short. “I think they're punishing us, and you're just sitting back and taking it instead of trying to make the best of it.” He sighs. “I'm not asking you to be my husband in the way the humans mean it, Enjolras, but it would be nice if we could be friends.”

Enjolras's frown makes it very clear what he thinks of that, and Grantaire leaves it be.

*

Grantaire stumbles into a group of young humans who do want to make a difference, both for good and for chaos, and since for once he and Enjolras might agree on them as a good thing, he introduces them awkwardly, the word “husband” seeming a lot more strange when he uses it for anything but teasing, and knowing just what all of them think of it, from the way their eyebrows go up.

They're fun and boisterous and so, so young, in ways Grantaire can't imagine being. He surprises himself with his pessimism over their causes even as he and Enjolras fall deeper into their orbit, and he learns more about being human from them than he ever managed before. He thinks Enjolras does too, although they don't talk about it (even if it's a little easier to talk now, to say “Combeferre made a good point today” stiffly in their quiet apartment at night and expect an answer from Enjolras).

(It's strange, thinking of Enjolras changing. Weeks ago, eons ago, he would have bet on humans learning to be divine from Enjolras rather than the opposite, he seems so immutable.)

“Come on, Ange-olras,” says Grantaire one night, comfortably drunk and interrupting Enjolras's rapt attention on a debate about free will. “I'm tired and I want to go home.”

“You shouldn't call me that,” says Enjolras, stiff and forbidding. “You of all—you of all people, Grantaire. Please don't.”

Grantaire holds his hands up, abruptly more sober and unpleasantly so. “Of course, if that's what you want.”

Enjolras looks away. “Go home without me. I'll be along soon.”

Grantaire knows when he's being punished.

*

When the question comes, Grantaire is glad that Joly and Bossuet are doing the asking, and that it isn't really a question at all. They're the kindest humans he's met, and the closest friends, and they wait until Grantaire is on their couch, head tucked under Joly's chin with their lover Musichetta whistling in the bedroom before Joly sighs and says, very quietly, “You and Enjolras ...”

Grantaire knows everyone is curious about the wedding rings Grantaire bought them to explain their relationship and about the odd weighted silences that aren't the norm for marriage. He's only surprised it's taken this long for anyone to ask. “Me and Enjolras,” he agrees.

Bossuet taps out a restless tune on Grantaire's ankle. “How long have you been married?”

“Not long. But it was always part of the grand plan.” He keeps his tone light, even if he feels more bitter about that truth by the day. He can feel them both frown even though he doesn't bother opening his eyes. “He doesn't care about me and we both know it, but … look, it's a long story, but divorce isn't an option. We just have to keep muddling through.” Even though he knows they can't be pleasing hell or heaven with their cold, brief conversations. If only the assignment were to learn more about humanity.

“If you ever need to get away,” Musichetta says, suddenly at the bedroom door, making it obvious she was eavesdropping, “you can come here. We won't ask questions, and we won't tell Enjolras anything you don't want us to.”

Grantaire swallows, surprised at the urge for tears. Sometimes humans have more of the grace of heaven in them than any angel does—and if they have more of hell than any demon sometimes, then that's just the nature of humanity.

*

The human definitions of love are better than the divine or diabolical ones. The Greeks, Grantaire thinks, did a good job at the distinctions, the kinds any being could understand, but he becomes very aware of the uniquely human meanings of the word as time goes on.

Grantaire feels very human when he spends a night trying not to wonder where Enjolras is and reminding himself that no one is alone in the universe. He feels human whenever he sees one of Enjolras's rare smiles, and terribly so every time he calls Enjolras “husband” and Enjolras looks away or deflects.

Cosette comes to visit, wide-eyed and curious about the world when he takes her walking in it, and wraps her arms around him when he tells her even the edges of his feelings. “Is it so bad?”

“It would probably be better if I hated him as much as he seems to hate me.”

“It's not in your nature.” She kisses his forehead. “It's all in the Plan, Grantaire, it must be. Angels and demons have gotten along before, and the two of you were chosen, and not at random. Keep trying, because there must be a reason.”

He drops his head. “Reason or not, Plan or not, I can't see myself doing this for millennia.”

“You won't have to,” she says, fierce in her belief, and he wishes he could share it.

“Sometimes I wish I would just fall,” he says, so quietly he almost can't here himself, and Cosette's intake of air sounds pained. “There would be no alliance then, so they'd let him free. But I've sinned so much since I came here, done things to make any angel blush, and there's been no difference. He's trapped.”

“Oh, Grantaire.” She wraps him up in a hug, all the love in the cosmos in it. “If he is, you are too, love or not. I just wish you weren't.” She doesn't offer solutions beyond that, just holds on, and Grantaire is grateful for it.

*

Grantaire leaves.

It's a very mundane, human thing to do, leaving his husband. He packs a suitcase and takes a houseplant and shows up on Joly and Bossuet and Musichetta's doorstep, where he's immediately wrapped in warmth and affection.

“What happened to the plan?” Joly asks quietly when Grantaire offers to help him cook that night (he didn't leave in the middle of the night like a cliché, but during the day when Enjolras had disappeared to make his own observations of humanity, no acknowledgment of Grantaire on his way out).

“I figured,” Grantaire says very precisely, because he's been drinking steadily since he left and it's either very precisely or a slur of consonants at this point, “that if there's a plan, then me leaving has got to be part of it too. You aren't supposed to stay with people who don't love you back.”

“Oh, R,” says Joly, and never goes more than a foot from his side for the rest of the time they cook.

*

Enjolras knocks on their door at nine in the morning, and Grantaire doesn't even allow himself a moment's denial about who's at the door, just stops in the middle of explaining to Bossuet that really, he can cook breakfast, he never gets hangovers (because angels don't).

“You don't have to answer,” says Bossuet, because he can make an educated guess as well, but Grantaire really does, if only to ask why Enjolras bothered to come after him.

“You left,” says Enjolras as soon as the door is open. He's frowning and somehow smaller than usual, hunched in on himself, and he hasn't bothered to make himself look less tired, less human. “I was worried.”

“I'm here, safe and sound, as you can see.”

“I thought you fell, Grantaire, because of me, because I wasn't trying hard enough.” And that will be something for Bossuet to analyze later, but Enjolras doesn't respond to Grantaire's shake of the head. “I don't want that.”

“You don't want anything to do with me, from what I can tell.”

“That's not—Grantaire, that isn't true. I wouldn't have stayed if it was true, I just didn't get the chance to be used to any of it!” Enjolras lowers his voice when Grantaire frowns at him again, trying to communicate that they have at least one eavesdropper, and more likely three. “You kept talking about the Plan, but I couldn't make an effort just for that, even if I think reconciliation is a worthy cause. I left in the first place because I never wanted to be part of anyone's plan.”

“You always talked about it before, how despite all the fighting surely reconciliation was in the Plan.” And that's what they don't talk about, the time before Enjolras fell, when Enjolras was heaven's greatest angel, when he followed the rules with militant fervor to work for the good of all the universe, when Grantaire kept to himself and his small miracles. “You never told me you changed your mind. I thought it would make you listen. I miscalculated.” He sighs. “And so did the people who arranged this, it seems. Call it a failed experiment.”

“I don't want to call it—”

“Oh, of course, nothing involving the great Enjolras could ever—”

“I remember you too, you know,” Enjolras says, and Grantaire's voice deserts him, because all of heaven knew Enjolras, but that doesn't mean Enjolras knew Grantaire. “For centuries, I wondered if you would fall, because I remembered you scoffing at wars on evil, scoffing whenever anyone said chaos was to the bad. You had so little patience for heaven, and I assumed I would have your company for so long until I realized it's as simple as you being good. I wasn't, always. Just passionate.”

“What does that have to do with our marriage?”

“I didn't know what to do, when they told me it was you. I didn't know what to do with you.”

Grantaire finally comes out to the hall and shuts the door behind him, because he's very certain his friends have heard too much but he can at least spare him this next part. “You could have tried to figure it out. Or you could have asked to me. I can't spend decades waiting for you to figure out what to do with me, Enjolras, I'll fall first.”

“I'll try now, Grantaire, I promise. Just because I'm a demon doesn't mean I can't keep my word. I may think heaven's Plan and all its strictures are ridiculous, but but doesn't mean I don't keep my promises.”

Grantaire swallows. “They are ridiculous. I'd rather be a human any day.”

He expects Enjolras to frown and turn away at that. Even if he isn't content with either heaven or hell, humanity doesn't impress him either, from what Grantaire can tell. Maybe he's wrong, though, and their friends and Enjolras's explorations on his own have taught him more than Grantaire thought, because his mouth pulls up in a smile. “So would I. And maybe if you fell a little, and I climbed a little, we could get somewhere close. And we could try again.”

“Even though it plays into the great ineffable Plan?”

Enjolras's smile grows. “I don't think all the hosts of heaven and hell could plan for us, if we put our minds to it.” He holds a hand out. “Will you kiss me? Don't husbands do that?”

Grantaire should open the door and find an explanation or an excuse for his friends, should ask Enjolras what kind of mischief he has in mind—but maybe that doesn't matter, for now. Instead, he kisses Enjolras, perhaps the most human thing of all to do, and he's never felt any more or less divine.