Once upon a time, a few mistakes ago, Eponine decided to sleep with a guy whose skin may have held a twinge of blue, said blue-skinned man turned out to be a genie, and the rest is history.
“I want you to have my last wish,” Eponine says when Grantaire finally manages to stop repeating he gave you three wishes because you gave him really great head in the most scandalized voice he can muster because, really, what did Eponine do in a past life and how can he go back in time and do it too? “It works, I swear. I got rid of Montparnasse and got really cute new shoes.” She kicks her feet up to display the stilettos, and Grantaire ducks out of the way automatically. Eponine isn’t known for the gentleness of her movements, and Grantaire would really like to keep his body intact.
Because Grantaire is a cynic, and cynical people think cynical thoughts, the first thing out of his mouth is, “Knowing you, you’ll get back together with Montparnasse by tomorrow. And Cosette bought those shoes a month ago. She only gave them to you now because it’s almost your birthday.”
Eponine waves a hand dismissively. “Details, details.” Reaching into her bag, she pulls out a lamp that looks like it’s popped straight out of Aladdin. “Do you want me to show you how to rub the lamp or can you handle that on your own?”
Grantaire snatches it out of her hands and holds it against his ear, rattling. There’s no sound, and Grantaire can’t help but feel a little disappointed. “There’s nothing in here.”
Eponine lets out a long suffering-sigh and says matter-of-factly, “He’s a genie. He can grant wishes. It’s not that hard to muffle sound when you can do magic.”
“You say that like he’s real.”
Eponine’s eyes light up, and she claps her hands together in sudden glee. “You could just use your last wish to get your blond revolutionary. At the very least, it’ll be more effective than those chain emails you’re always forwarding in the vain hope that Enjolras will show up on your doorstep one day wearing nothing but a French flag.” Grantaire opens his mouth to protest, but Eponine slaps a hand over it to silence him. “Don’t you deny it. I’ve hacked into your email.”
“I’m not in love with him!”
But Grantaire takes the lamp anyway.
So what if Grantaire had enough hope left in him to rub the lamp? It’s not like it would hurt.
The blue-skinned man with muscles that would rival Bahorel’s currently standing in his bedroom looks like he would hurt though.
“Holy fucking shit!” Grantaire inches away slowly, afraid to startle the man who’s stretching out his sore muscles, until he feels his back hit the wall. Although he’s been in fights with bigger guys, what if blue skin gave genies superhuman strength or something? It’s not something Grantaire particularly wants to test. The man looks for all the world like a typical biker, complete with obligatory tattoo and ponytail. His eyes scan the room slowly, taking in Grantaire’s mess of clothing and the ironic One Direction posters Courfeyrac had stuck to his wall one drunk evening.
“Are you Grantaire?” he asks, scowling. Grantaire almost feels bad for him—constantly being at others’ beck-and-call, cramped inside a lamp—but then he realizes that he’s feeling bad for a genie and decides to stop before his brain explodes.
“Um,” Grantaire says eloquently, keenly aware that he’s talking to someone who, until about five minutes ago, was a blue puff of smoke escaping the lamp he’s still holding in his hand. His fingers release the handle, and the man winces when he sees his home hit the dirty floor of Grantaire’s bedroom. “You’re a genie.”
“Shut up,” the man says sarcastically, his voice artificially high-pitched, “shut up.”
Okay, a biker genie with the ability to quote Regina George is standing in his apartment. That’s not weird at all.
The genie wiggles his fingers. “Oh yes, and I also have the ability to change anything in your universe with a snap of my fingers, so I wouldn’t go around insulting myself.”
Calming down a little, Grantaire manages to sit in a chair without wanting to keel over from shock. “Do you actually grant wishes?”
“Ge-nie,” he says very slowly, articulating the syllables, “you may also address me as O Great Wish-Granter, Sir Only-Slightly-Blue, or Victor Hugo.” He rubs his chin, thinking. “Do you think that’s pretentious? I think that may be pretentious.” A pen and notepad appear out of thin air, and the great wish-killer or whatever his name is carefully crosses something out. “Which part of my job description don’t you understand?”
“I don’t know—the part where you can somehow do magic?” Grantaire bites back.
“Prove it. Set my dresser on fire or something.”
The genie glares. “I’m not Dumbledore. I prefer Gandalf myself. Now, are you going to make a wish or can I go back to my lamp?”
Against his will, Eponine’s suggestion still rings in his ears. Grantaire’s name has practically been pronounced “hi, I’m in a one-sided relationship, that’s not pathetic at all” ever since he met Enjolras, and he’s tired, so tired of hoping and waiting for something that’s never going to come. He’s pretty sure that there’s nothing on earth that could change Enjolras’s mind after it’s made up. The self-proclaimed genie will do his wibbly-wobbly magic, nothing will happen, Grantaire will prove Eponine wrong, and Grantaire can go back to sketching Enjolras without his knowledge.
Grantaire crosses his arms over his chest. “Okay, genie,” he says sarcastically, “if you really have the magical ability to grant people wishes, make Enjolras fall in love with me.”
The genie’s eyes glaze over, like he’s looking at something that’s not there. “What, the blond kid who’s obsessed with revolution?” he says, when he comes back to himself.
“Are you sure you want that to be your wish? You can wish for anything in the world,” the genie reminds Grantaire.
Grantaire grits his teeth and nods.
Shrugging, the genie snaps loudly. “Wish granted.”
Grantaire first realizes that maybe genie-man wasn’t a complete crock when Enjolras decides to give him roses. When he says “give,” he means “shove them into his face.” And when he says “shove them into his face,” he means that he’s currently bleeding from minor scratches and is still recovering from the trauma of nearly having an eye gouged out of its socket.
“Here, these are for you,” Enjolras says. Grantaire barely has time to register the words (and assess his wounds) before the blond takes a stack of index cards out of his pocket, nearly dropping them in the process. Grantaire reaches out to help, but Enjolras glares at him with such intensity that he’s stuck in place. Even as a flustered twenty-something with a crush, Enjolras has perfected his glare down to an art.
“Enjolras—“ It’s better to return Enjolras to normal now before Grantaire begins believing in this whole charade. Considering how much he craves Enjolras’s attention, it’ll be better for his mental—and physical—health to rip off the Band-Aid now. Suddenly, he realizes that he’s still holding a bouquet of what he deems are the thorniest roses he’s ever had the misfortune to become intimately acquainted with. “Look, Enjolras, do you mind if I set these down? They’re kind of hurting my hands—“
Enjolras glowers. “No.”
“But it’s getting really painful—“His words stutter to a stop when Enjolras’s glare refuses to fade.
“Do you ever stop talking? You’re lucky I don’t hate you.” Grantaire’s face heats up, and the sound that escapes his mouth is a cross between a choked sob and squeal. Enjolras acts confident, but Grantaire has always been able to read him better than most, and he can sense the nervousness the other man is hiding. Clearing his throat, Enjolras begins reading from the first index in the stack. “I wish I were adenine, so I could get paired with U.”
A year of high school biology proves completely useless as the next word out of Grantaire’s mouth is a highly intelligent, “What?”
Enjolras ignores him and continues, “I wish you were my teddy bear so that I could sleep with you held tight in my arms.”
This is stopping right now.
Grantaire approaches Enjolras slowly, cautiously, and gently places his hands on Enjolras’s shoulders to force the taller man to look at him. With wide eyes, Enjolras stares at the points of contact, and Grantaire feels something turn in his stomach.
“Enjolras, listen to me. What you’re feeling isn’t real. I made a huge mistake because I didn’t think the genie could really do magic, and now you’re in love with me, oh shit what did I do—“
Enjolras loses all signs of hesitation, and fixes Grantaire with the intense look that precedes all his rants. “What genie? It would serve you well not to presume you know how I feel, Grantaire. Feeding words into others’ mouths has been a common cause of communication failure and a tool of oppression, and you know how much I hate oppression.”
Oh, genie-man was good.
Grantaire decides that his salvation lies in a badly-dressed poet currently having sex with his boyfriend.
“I’m a bad person,” Grantaire groans when the obligatory “my eyes” and “do you ever knock?” have been exchanged. Jehan’s fingers running through his hair do somewhat make him feel better, but Courfeyrac’s affronted sniffles in the corner ruin the mood. Frankly, Courfeyrac should be used to it by now. Now that Combeferre’s buckling down on schoolwork with finals coming up, Jehan is the only one left who can give a modicum of good advice, and Grantaire knows he’s not the only one who has taken advantage of that.
“No, you’re not.” Jehan’s fingers are gentle. “Whatever you’ve done, it can’t be that bad.”
“I may have gotten my hands on a genie. And my wish was to make Enjolras fall in love with me?” He braces himself, waiting for Jehan to berate him for messing with the course of true love, but it’s Courfeyrac who speaks.
“Let me get this straight,” he mutters, “you got a genie, who could grant you anything you wanted…and you chose this? Can I see this genie so I can wish for new friends?”
“I didn’t mean to force my feelings on him—I didn’t think it would actually work. I mean, if a blue man shows up in your bedroom, you’d just think you were dreaming a dream or something, not that he could actually give Enjolras a heart full of love.”
Courfeyrac gapes. “You…forcing feelings…on him.”
Irritation building and slightly wounded, Grantaire settles back into Jehan’s embrace. “I get that you two are besties, but you don’t have to look at me like that. I already feel bad enough about this.”
Courfeyrac shoots him another disgusted look before shaking his head in surrender and leaving the room. Grantaire hears the bathroom door closing with a slam before there’s a banging against the wall between the bedroom and bathroom. Mildly worried, Grantaire opens his mouth to ask Jehan because what the hell, but Jehan just shakes his head, amused smile playing at the corner of his lips.
“Nargles,” Jehan explains simply. At this point, Grantaire’s not even surprised anymore.
After a few minutes, it’s over, and Courfeyrac walks out of the bathroom, his face flushed and his usually-coiffed hair askew. Still rubbing his head and wincing when his hands make contact with the bruises, his eyes narrow when he sees Grantaire.
“You know, in Courfeyrac-ese, we have a word for you. Stupid.”
Before Grantaire can point out that he’s pretty sure that was English, the phone in his pocket vibrates, and it’s Eponine.
“Grantaire?” Eponine shrieks, “Why did Enjolras just call me to ask if I could start a torrid affair with Courfeyrac so that he can prove his love to you by forcing Courfeyrac to marry me? He said I’m the closest thing you have to a sister. Oh, and he wanted me to ask Jehan if he had a TARDIS to take us back to 19th-century England. Then he started ranting about a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty Grantaire, but I think he just forgot to hang up—“
Grantaire hangs up.
The first thing Grantaire does when he gets home is throw the lamp at a wall. “Genie, come on, I need you.” He kicks and whales on the lamp, but it stays resolutely silent, like a lamp should. Finally, Grantaire slumps against the wall in defeat. “Genie, O Great Wish-Granter, you troll of an author, whatever you want to be called,” he begs, “I need you to reverse my wish. Now.”
He rubs at the lamp one last time, not expecting a response, and alas, he’s right. Sometimes, Grantaire hates being right.
It’s a hot day, and Courfeyrac suggests they go swimming, which is 10% a result of the temperature and 90% a result of his friends knowing about Grantaire’s infatuation with a certain blond and wanting to torture him. Enjolras seems to have no idea how good-looking he really is, which makes staring at him all too easy. What Grantaire had forgotten to take into account was the genie’s magic (read: curse).
Enjolras’s eyes bore holes into the back of his head as Bahorel tries to dunk him into the water, and well, it’s a good thing Grantaire kickboxes and fences. “Enjolras?” Combeferre waves a hand in front of his best friend’s face.
Enjolras blinks. “What?”
“I was just talking about how Joseph Guillotine thought that the guillotine would be an egalitarian way to die?”
Enjolras is barely paying attention, his eyes trained on Grantaire. “But what if someone had a really thick neck?” Enjolras says absently.
“Did you just…question the French Revolution?”
Courfeyrac groans and falls out of his chair.
If Grantaire were a romance hero, he’d be scouring the world for a cure, balking at the idea of being loved falsely by a man he respected. He’d be affronted by the idea of Enjolras being forced into something he didn’t want. He’d be fair, and true, and all that crap.
But Grantaire is a drunken cynic, and romantic leads are generally contributing members of society, so Grantaire is stuck waiting for the spell to wear off.
Over the past few days, Grantaire has been led in a wild scavenger hunt through the city, found exactly 26 poems he swears are written by Prouvaire, and been given a picture Enjolras drew of him, he thinks, if Grantaire were a not-particularly-attractive whale wearing a ski mask.
Grantaire enters the Musain to shouts and the sound of crashing furniture.
There’s a yell, and of course, it’s Enjolras’s voice that carries above the rest. “To the barricade!”
Grantaire ducks his head as a chair whizzes by to land on the stack of furniture currently accumulating in the doorway to the back room of the Musain. He barely has enough space to squeeze through to the center of the room, where it’s relatively quiet and calm. Enjolras cups his hands around his mouth to speak to the crowd, and Grantaire is transfixed. “Courfeyrac, don’t put that chair over there, you’re going to make the barricade completely unstable. Combeferre, grab that table!”
When Enjolras spies Grantaire hesitating near the back of the group, he smiles and jumps down from his makeshift podium of crates. “Hey, I was wondering when you would show up.”
“What are you doing?” Grantaire nearly shrieks because shrieking seems like an appropriate course of action when all of his friends have gone insane.
“We’re building a barricade,” Enjolras states calmly.
But Enjolras is already turning away with an impassioned “Vive la France!” to tear at the loose tile in the back corner of the room.
Bahorel, dragging a couch toward the barricade, decides to take pity on Grantaire. “Jehan watched a musical where some people staged a rebellion against the government by building a barricade. I'm just here because I get to throw furniture around.”
“Grantaire!” Enjolras snaps, “Get over here.”
“But why me?”
Bahorel chuckles. “Oh, yeah, that. Some girl decided to pronounce her love for one of the rebels while she was dying at the barricade, so…”
A sneaking suspicion of what’s to come creeps up on Grantaire. “You don’t mean—“
Enjolras interrupts his thoughts. “Someone shoot me so I can die dramatically. Jehan, can you make it rain?”
“Enjolras is bad at crushes,” Bahorel says sagely.
Contrary to popular belief, Grantaire hadn’t fallen in love with Enjolras at first sight. When he’d first heard about Enjolras, sitting at the bar as Courfeyrac tried to recruit him, Grantaire had thought him absolutely insane, his beliefs too idealistic for reality and his goals too lofty to come to fruition. His personality would cancel out whatever attractive physical attributes he had, and anyway, Grantaire was way too sober to fall for a social activist, no matter how his hair curled in just the right way or how he had the visage of a god. He’d been about to leave, he swears.
But then he’d heard Enjolras speak about empowering the oppressed to rise, and Grantaire had thought that he was feeling very oppressed by the beer he was holding and also that he wouldn’t mind if Enjolras empowered him to rise.
And that was that.
The test of time hadn’t worn down the effect Enjolras’s voice had on Grantaire, and it’s the only reason why they’re currently having a heart-to-heart when all Grantaire wanted to do was bolt. Being alone with Enjolras seems almost a crime.
“I may have gone about this the wrong way,” Enjolras admits as he sips his coffee. The furniture from the day before has all been cleaned up, and Grantaire has no idea how Enjolras charms his way out of trouble. He’d suggest magical interference, but apparently, magic fucks everything up, and does Enjolras look fucked up? Not at all, it’s so unfair. “And this is what I get for taking advice from Courfeyrac.”
Grantaire chuckles weakly. “It’s okay.” He’d given up on trying to shove the truth into Enjolras’s head—that Grantaire is still the annoying drunk in the back of the room—and it’s partly because Enjolras won’t listen and partly because maybe Grantaire just wants to pretend.
“You’re not an easy person to like.”
“As someone who doesn’t particularly like himself, I completely agree.”
Enjolras looks frustrated. “That’s not what I meant. Not you specifically.” He puffs. “Have you ever seen me show any sign of interest in anyone else? There’s a good reason for that. I don’t do anything halfway, and this just got out of control. But I’m sitting here telling you that I like you and that you could have everything out of life if you liked yourself too.”
Grantaire decides to try one last time. “Enjolras, you don’t like me. It’s the genie magic.”
“And that’s another thing. You keep making up excuses because you can’t understand that someone may actually think you’re worth it. There is no genie. I’m here because I want to be here.”
“I don’t believe you.”
Over the past few days, Grantaire has almost gotten used to Enjolras’s weird antics. At least he can trick himself into separating the two Enjolrases: the normal one and the one affected my genie magic. But what he isn’t used to is this, this logical Enjolras who’s almost believable and very, very him. With this talk, Enjolras made believing so goddamn easy, which is why Grantaire needs to get out right now before he’s tempted to keep Enjolras this way permanently.
Enjolras shakes his head in disappointment, and it’s so reminiscent of how he felt for Grantaire before this all happened. “Call me when you decide what you want to believe.”
When Grantaire gets home, he buries his face into a pillow and screams.
Grantaire clutches the lamp to his chest and rocks back and forth, all the while rubbing with all his might. He’s desperate, and he’ll do absolutely anything at this point—the conversation he’d had with Enjolras earlier had shaken him that much.
“Genie, seriously, this isn’t fun anymore. It was nice to pretend that he didn’t really care at first, but he’s seriously in love with me. I’d rather he still hate me than this.” Suddenly, it hits Grantaire that he’s talking to an inanimate object, and he starts giggling. The giggles turn into laughs, the laughs turn into guffaws, and before he knows it, he’s laughing so hard he’s crying. It’s more desperate than amused, and he wonders how many of the tears are for how he’ll miss Enjolras actually accepting him.
But Grantaire is a good person. Or something. He’s no romantic male lead, but he’s a decent human being every once in a while.
“It’s like the moral of every fairytale, huh? When you find out that magic sucks, and no one should mess with it to get what they want. Well, I’ve learned my lesson, so can you please take my wish back?”
Still no response.
“Goddamn you.” His shakes increase in their intensity, and he’s overcome with a sudden urge to just damage the lamp any way he can and destroy the root of his problems. “Okay, you know what, I was going to keep you around to see if you’re going to show up, but it’s time to play hardball. You’re going to come out and tell me what I should do right now, or I’m throwing you into the Seine. One, two, two and a half, two and three-quarters, please don’t make me have to go to smaller fractions, I suck at math…Okay, I’m throwing you into the Seine, and nobody’s going to fetch you…”
The lamp emits of a puff of blue smoke. Grantaire bats a hand at it, and slowly, the smoke coalesces into words.
“Don’t you threaten my lamp. And stop trying to make fetch happen.”
Grantaire nearly drops the lamp in shock. “Holy shit, you’re replying.”
“I don’t want to die,” the lamp says. Grantaire never knew smoke could italicize, but here it is, smoke italicizing. Although the genie isn’t scowling at him in person, he can feel the irritation bleeding into the smoke.
“So can you reverse my wish or not?”
“I can only reverse a wish if I granted it in the first place.”
Grantaire waits for the lamp to elaborate, but it’s gone silent again.
“What do you mean, you didn’t do anything? Obviously, you did something, or—Oh. Oh. Are you kidding me? You’re screwing with me, aren’t you?”
Grantaire’s brain tries to extinguish the growing burst of hope that’s building inside him before it’s inevitably crushed by reality. The pieces are lining up, but they’re not fitting in a way that makes sense.
He calls Courfeyrac because Courfeyrac is actually right sometimes. “Is Enjolras in love with me?”
Courfeyrac heaves a sigh and hangs up, wondering when his contract will expire and he’s allowed to buy new friends.
Grantaire shows up at Enjolras’s door wearing nothing but a French flag because normal clothes are a bourgeois concept and must be eschewed with a firm hand. Also, he reckons Enjolras will be more likely to forgive him if he dredges up what remains of his national pride and puts it on display.
“You know, in Grantaire-ese, we have a word for you,” he tells Enjolras. “Really bad at love.”
“But that’s not one word,” Enjolras tries to say, but he subconsciously moves an inch closer to Grantaire, and Grantaire totally consciously moves an inch closer to Enjolras, so the words are swallowed up in their kiss. It’s all semantics anyway.
Somewhere that’s decidedly not at the bottom of the Seine, a blue-skinned man adds Real-Life eHarmony to his list of titles.