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Hum You a Song About Nothing at All

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Enjolras likes weddings. People don't assume it, but he likes the thought of them, or at least the thought of marriage and celebrating how much it can matter. He likes that people can commit their lives to each other with so much sincerity and that for one day people try to suspend their cynicism and their knowledge of divorce statistics and hope for love.

He likes this wedding. Marius's stuffy grandfather looks uncomfortable, but everyone else is in Cosette's father's yard, which is covered in twinkling lights that Courfeyrac and Jehan spent two hours putting up last night. Cosette is barefoot in a blue dress, and Marius is walking around dazed and grinning and always looking for her if she's out of reach.

Éponine is dancing with Cosette's father and she's actually smiling, and Bahorel is spinning Fantine around. Combeferre's arm is around Bossuet's shoulders while Jehan takes a picture that will be blurry because all three of them are laughing, and Musichetta is sitting on a table pouring wine for Courfeyrac and Feuilly. Joly is entertaining Éponine's siblings with big gestures and lots of laughter.

And Grantaire is … somewhere outside the circle of light, with an empty beer bottle clutched in his hand and too many shadows on his face for Enjolras to interpret his expression.

Maybe Enjolras isn't the best person to go to him. He doesn't have a right to ask Grantaire to confide in him if something is wrong, not even the right of friendship, because they can't quite be called friends. When he asks Grantaire a question he's more likely to get a five-minute monologue that leaves him more confused than he was when he began.

But Grantaire is alone on a good night, and so is Enjolras, and if there's a night for a truce, this is it.

“Another drink?” he asks, an extra glass of wine in his hand more as a pretense than for any other reason.

Grantaire turns to him, eyebrows up. “Now there's a sentence I thought I'd never hear.”

Both of them know the beer in his hand is the first one he's finished today, because he's been quiet all day, in between congratulating Cosette and teasing Marius and taking pictures as the ceremony happened. Enjolras just offers the wine and Grantaire takes it, putting the bottle down on a nearby chair, and doesn't take a sip. “You shouldn't be on your own,” Enjolras offers.

“Shouldn't I?”

“Your roommates will worry.”

Grantaire tilts his head, acknowledging the point. A year ago, he would have scoffed at the thought of anyone worrying about him. Living with Bossuet and Musichetta and Joly has been good for him. “I'm surprised,” he says.

Enjolras has learned not to make the mistake of assuming anything Grantaire says is related in any real way to his previous statements. “About what?”

“I'm surprised you're so cheerful about this wedding. Seems far too bourgeois for you, the whole concept. Needing paperwork and flowers to commit yourself to someone.”

“I don't think there's anything wrong with celebrating love.” Marius and Cosette are dancing now, and it looks like Courfeyrac is standing to change something about the music.

“You don't speak often about love.”

Enjolras frowns. “Don't I?” It seems like all he speaks about some days.

“Oh, love of humanity, maybe. Love of an ideal, or a movement.”

“Isn't it the same thing?”

“The Greeks wouldn't say so.”

“Are you unhappy about the wedding?” Enjolras asks, because the whole conversation is confusing him and if that's the problem, it may be something he can fix.

Grantaire makes an eloquent gesture that takes in the newlyweds, their family and friends, the happiness and the sweetness of it all, how Combeferre has squared his shoulders and gone to talk to Marius's grandfather even though they all detest him just because it's a day for peace. “How could anyone be? They're sweet. They've been sweet since the day they met, and have no doubt dreamt of each other every night since. I don't think anything I could say could stand up to that and I don't want to say anything about it anyway.”

“So?”

“So.” Grantaire finally sips his wine. Enjolras waits for him to say something else. “Envy is an ugly emotion.”

“You're … in love with Cosette?”

Grantaire laughs. It's not a happy laugh, but it's something. “You know I'm not. Don't you know how weddings work? The single people bemoan their sad bitter fates. I'd like to be married someday, you know.”

That's hard to imagine, and Enjolras is instantly ashamed that he finds it so difficult. Grantaire puts up so many walls, though. It's hard to imagine him looking at someone the way Marius is looking at Cosette when Enjolras glances, like he's seeing every day of all the years they could spend together and it's the best thing he could imagine. He looks back at Grantaire to find him looking back, quiet and waiting, like he knows about Enjolras's moment of doubt. “So you cut yourself off?” Grantaire shrugs and looks away again. “You aren't the only single one here. Many of us are. This isn't about that.”

“I know. I've been away from the party for five minutes, Enjolras. It's not such a cause for worry.”

But Enjolras doesn't like Grantaire quiet and unhappy. He knows sometimes the loudness is just as unhappy, but the quiet is disconcerting. He can't argue or distract Grantaire out of quiet. “Perhaps I needed a break too,” he admits. “I like to watch things like this sometimes.”

“Observing isn't usually your style.”

It's Enjolras's turn to shrug. “They're my friends. I like to watch them happy.” He takes a deep breath, tries again. “You too.”

“Well, I'm honored.” Maybe Grantaire means that to be sarcastic, but it comes out sincere. “I am, you know? Of all the days, this is one of the happier ones, I promise you that.”

That makes Enjolras wonder if he should watch closer when Grantaire is quieter, see if he's smiling for real for once. It's something to think about. He might like Grantaire much better if he could get to know him past the bluster. Perhaps more than he thought possible, even five minutes ago. “We should dance,” he says slowly, testing out the idea.

Grantaire jerks, wine spilling out of his glass and on the sleeve of his jacket. Both of them wince. “Together?” Grantaire asks.

“If you're willing.”

For a second, Enjolras thinks he's going to say no. Then Grantaire lets out a short bark of laughter and puts his glass on the chair next to his beer bottle and wipes the last of the drippings off his hand. “Why wouldn't I be? We're all here for a party, and Marius and Cosette deserve the happiness, I would say.”

“So do you,” says Enjolras, and offers his hand. “Come on. Let's go before Jehan thinks of a novelty song to put on.”

Grantaire's palm, when he reaches out and grasps Enjolras's hand, is warm and smoother than he's expecting. “We'll show them how it's done.”

Enjolras leads him back into the cluster of people, of friends left at the end of a happy day, and there's love everywhere, people laughing and dancing and holding hands, and he wants to be part of that. He wants Grantaire to be part of that. Grantaire's other hand is warm on his shoulder blade, and Enjolras settles into the hold, and into the knowledge of a few things he's been ignoring, as they start dancing.