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Balance

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No one ever asks why they choose to live together. In fact, people seem to take it as a given, take the three of them as a given. Rock-solid, they are, three points of balance that support and enhance each other. Enjolras, Combeferre, Courfeyrac. Even when they're apart, (which is often, they're all in different classes and majors), people come to expect the constant ring of texts, the indefinable sense of a presence lingering over their shoulders. They are a unit of three, and never separated.

 

People never ask why they fit so well together. Combeferre with his calm steady manner, his warm brown eyes and gentle smile seems to fit perfectly with Courfeyrac's untamed joy and boundless energy, and they both seem to tame and ground the unwavering flame of Enjolras's passion. It's hardly surprising when Courfeyrac drapes their arms around Combeferre's neck to reach over and steal his food, when Enjolras takes a moment to lean his head against Courfeyrac's broad shoulders and breathe, when Combeferre reaches out without looking to scratch the curly hair of either of his friends like he's petting a particularly insistent cat. Personal space is a foreign concept between them, like the spaces between their bodies are constantly aching to be filled.

 

And no one asks what happens when Enjolras comes home to their apartment shouting with inarticulate rage, a profound frustrated anger that brings him near to tears. They don't pause to wonder what happens when his words run out and his voice cracks, when the sheer tension of his body collapses into aching despondency. Combeferre always pauses to ask if he needs touch to ground him, Courfeyrac fetches piping hot coffee and their favorite fuzzy blankets to create a nest on the couch, warm bodies crammed against each other so their heartbeats ricochet between their chests.

 

No one asks who takes the time to remove Combeferre's glasses and dim the lights when his headaches escalate into migraines, although they might be surprised to hear the quiet rhythm of Enjolras's voice as he reads from Combeferre's textbooks while Courfeyrac cradles a warm lavender-scented pillow against their friend's aching temples, applying pressure to the tense cables of muscles behind Combeferre's skull.

 

And no one has to ask what happens when Courfeyrac trudges home and collapses on the sofa, wordless and unsmiling. Combeferre props Courf's head against his thigh and hums softly while Enjolras fiddles with the sound system, pulling up instrumental movie soundtracks and settling himself against Courf's curled-up legs to finish his reading. If Courfeyrac occasionally digs their toes underneath Enjolras's warm legs or nestles their head more firmly under Combeferre's gently combing fingers, no one needs to know.

 

And some days all three are doing perfectly fine until the news turns on, until they get a despondent message from an allied activist group, until one of them is stalled on a project, sick with the flu, had an awful phone call from a parent, or is simply too tired to roll out of bed and face the day. Then, by executive unspoken decision, the three might send emails to beg pardon for missing class, reschedule an advisor meeting, and clear their schedules for the next few hours. And without a word, they might lift up layers of blankets, pull their mattresses to the floor and lie there interlaced, breathing slowly and deeply, until the air grows warm and sleepy, pleasantly weighting them down into a depthless, dreamless rest.

 

Any of their friends might say, "It's hard to tell where one ends and the others begin." They might add that the three are as different as they are inseparable, that you might expect Enjolras's anger to collide with Courfeyrac's careless enthusiasm, that Combeferre might become annoyed with his companions' boisterous discussions, that any of them might fail to take the others' pace in stride. But it's impossible to see them as separate people now, if they ever have been. It might be easier to imagine each as an aimless comet bounding through space before they fell into synchronous orbit.

 

For all that they met as teenagers, it seems that they might have been yearning towards each other their whole lives, waiting to find the bonds that complete them. Something deeper than friendship, more intimate than family, tied together with respect, affection, and understanding.

 

Their friends might add that it's hard to watch them together-- brushing casually against each other in motion, carelessly reaching out to straighten shirts, smooth cowlicks, knock shoulders together-- and to not feel some form of envy of that obvious affection, that acknowledgement of three lives inexplicably tied together. They might call it fate, destiny, luck that the three managed to find what they need in each other, but no one can deny that whatever it is they have, whatever you might call their relationship, it just feels right.