He comes into his life completely by chance.
Enjolras logs into his YouTube account for the sole purpose of retrieving links to some Michael Sandel lectures from his favorites to pass on to Courfeyrac. He doesn’t mean to rewatch the entire piece on moral worth - he hasn’t the time, he’s supposed to be meeting Combeferre at four - but he does, snickering despite himself when he spots the student in the Spiderman onesie in the audience.
He doesn’t mean to absentmindedly begin scrolling through the comments section as he listens, either. (At least half of them regard the guy in the onesie, or just quote some of the wittier comments Sandel comes out with throughout the course of the video.) One in particular catches his eye. It’s in French, so it takes him a moment to translate it himself, stubbornly refusing to simply use Google.
“Who the hell needs moral worth, anyway? I’m not gonna stop helping old ladies across the road, or whatever, just because the fact that it’s in my character to do so makes Kant think it’s morally worthless. Screw him!”
Enjolras hums in agreement, but he doesn’t mean to click on the commenter’s username, making a noise of irritation when their page starts to load up. He goes to click the ‘back’ icon, but his hand freezes when the thumbnail for their last video loads. Okay, so not only is the commenter French, but he’s a very attractive looking guy.
The cursor moves to press play of its own accord, he swears. Enjolras finds himself transfixed as the man starts to talk, voice low and soft, eyes bright blue and dancing with light; from what Enjolras can pick out, he’s explaining that he’s been busy with his work, apologising for the delay since the last video, a self deprecating half smile lighting up his face as he glances offscreen, and then - oh. He’s picking up an acoustic guitar.
He takes a sharp breath when he starts singing in perfect English. Enjolras doesn’t know what sounds more beautiful, his native French or the affected American-English of the song’s original artist. The song is vaguely familiar - one of Courfeyrac’s bands? - but in his voice it takes on an entirely new appeal. He gets entirely lost in his singing, eyes shutting and brow furrowing in concentration as he repeats part of the song like a chant ending in a cry, “to fight, to fight, to fight”. He opens his eyes to sing the last few lines, locking his gaze with the camera, and Enjolras can’t breathe.
He says nothing more, just stares at the camera with a smile, then giggles - honest to god, giggles - and moves to switch it off.
Enjolras is left staring at the ‘recommended videos’ option that flickers onto the screen, and sees none of it. He always thought of “breathtaking” as a pointless word, never thought it would apply to anybody, certainly never thought he would have his own breath taken away by a complete stranger’s video on the internet.
He hits Like without a single thought and pulls up another of the man’s videos, finding himself utterly as entranced with it, and then the next one, and the next one and the next one and the one after that, hitting Like after each and every one of them. The man is incredibly talented, Enjolras is compelled to give credit where it’s due - and it doesn’t hurt any that he’s absolutely gorgeous, Enjolras concedes with a slight blush.
Eventually he tears his gaze from his laptop screen to cast a glance over at the time, and promptly swears. It’s 4.15, Combeferre would be waiting for him. Enjolras hastily fires off the email with the linked videos to Courfeyrac, shuts down his laptop, grabs his jacket and runs out the door.
The next morning Enjolras finds himself in the library, mentally debating over whether or not to draft up a plan for his assigned essay or just plunge headlong into the paper proper. He finds himself a quiet corner and boots up his laptop, plugging in his headphones as he does so; Combeferre had promised to send him a message with a band he thought he’d like.
Making a note to himself just to get Combeferre to write down or email him the band’s name next time, he tries to navigate his way through to the Inbox of his YouTube account. He mutters angrily under his breath about the new unfriendly interface - why’d they have to keep going and changing things anyway, there was nothing wrong with the old system - until he finds it. At the top is Combeferre’s message, but Enjolras barely glances at it when he notices the username tagged to three below it, timestamped around 5 in the morning.
He bypasses Combeferre’s note, taps ‘accept’ on the corresponding friend request, then clicks the earliest one instead - Ferre’s taste in music leaves a lot to be desired, anyway. The entirety of the message is, as he should have expected, written in French, and he goes to check the other one out of curiosity.
This one is not.
“I just checked your profile I’m sorry, I just assumed you spoke French -- disregard that last message!! I will translate!
So, what I was saying is, were you intending to watch and like every video in my library without coming to say hi? How rude ! I don’t get much attention on these videos, Tell me what you think, which song is your favourite? - R”
Enjolras doesn’t realize he’s grinning until he catches his reflection on the laptop screen, and then he can’t bring himself to stop. He pauses to consider his words before he replies.
I do speak some, I would have worked it out eventually. And I’m very sorry, I had to leave quickly, I didn’t even get to watch them all. So, hi, apologies for being rude. And so far I like the latest one you uploaded, but they’re all fantastic. You’re good at what you do.
He pauses again, skimming over R’s message and coming to rest on ‘I just checked your profile’. He then adds,
And what of my videos? Did you watch any of them? - Enjolras
He sends it away before he can start doubting himself, then glances over his own videos. They’re all from rallies, many of them snippets of his own speeches filmed by Feuilly or Bahorel. Enjolras finds it weird looking at his face onscreen, so he switches tabs back to his inbox to make sure he doesn’t miss any new messages he receives - only to notice that there’s already one waiting for him.
I can manage in English, it’s probably easier for both of us. Apollogy accepted, god knows you’re the only person who’s ever watched so many of them in one sitting, never mind liked them all! If you liked that one, I did cover a few more of their songs a while back, but I should warn you they get worse and worse the further back you go.
I did watch one or two, that pretty man is extremely passionate, isn’t he? Is he a friend of yours? - R
It takes Enjolras a moment to register that ‘that pretty man’ is him, and he blushes for the second time in a few short hours. This beautiful French boy thinks he’s pretty? Well, then.
I doubt anything you cover is bad. And thank you for using the word “passionate”, that’s one of the nicest remarks I’ve ever gotten; usually I get “pushy” or “mouthy”. - Enjolras
And a lot worse besides, he doesn’t add.
I look forward to proving you wrong. Wait, that’s you ? What do you speak for? - R
Yes, I’m part of a politically motivated student group. The videos on here are varied, but mostly we focus on campaigning for class/gender/sexuality etc equality in our local area. We’re trying to reach further, but for now that’s what the internet’s for. - Enjolras
Also, don’t think I didn’t notice that ‘pretty man’. Have you looked in a mirror recently? Are you aware of your own face? - Enjolras
He doesn’t know what possesses him to send that second one, but he does. He puts his hands over his face and groans. When he peeks between his fingers, there’s another reply.
You make any progress, your group? Would I have heard of you ? I will have to check out more of them, I didn’t have time before. And yes, you are a pretty man. I am aware of my own face, yes. I just think yours is pretty enough to merit comment.
Anyway, sorry to have to cut this short but I have to get to work! I hope we talk again soon :) - R
Enjolras just sits there smiling goofily for a moment before typing out a final response, hits send, and throws himself into writing his essay in full (no plan necessary; he’s feeling reckless).
Enough to draw attention and get under local government’s skin. I wouldn’t think you had, but we call ourselves Les Amis de l’ABC. [Here Enjolras huffs a little laugh at the, ah, French connection element.] I’d love to hear what you think about them. Us.
Well, I’m aware of your face too, and it’s a nice one. I’d love to talk more, but could we move this to email, if that’s okay? I just don’t really like the new layout of this site, I can never find anything. I’m firstname.lastname@example.org, if you want to, that is. Enjoy work, I’ll speak to you later. - Enjolras
About half an hour into writing his essay, he admits defeat and pulls up R’s page again, scrolling until he finds the last video he watched and plugging in his earphones to continue on from where he left off.
He’s sure to Like every one he watches.
It’s a few hours later, and Enjolras is just gathering his things up to leave the library when an email notification buzzes his phone.
Well, congratulations to Les Amis, you now have a follower in France. :)
He leaves the building smiling.
They carry on corresponding via email for a good few months, in which time Enjolras gleans as much information about his new acquaintance as he can. He learns that R is a shortening of Grantaire, that he works two jobs as well as attending art classes, that he can play piano and violin as well his guitar and singing, that he boxes, runs, dances, and fences whenever it takes his fancy, that his favorite color is green, that he hates pretentious movies [“You’re French, how do you survive?” “I am truly a courageous black sheep amongst my fellow countrymen”] and loves intentionally terrible movies, is incredibly sharp and witty in at least two languages, that he drinks a lot but is trying to cut down for his own good, and that he knows an incredible amount about all kinds of history, mythology and world politics.
Therein lies their first argument. It isn’t that Grantaire doesn’t care about improving the world, it’s just that he thinks it won’t happen. [“I’ll show you.” “I certainly hope you will.”] He’ll argue against anything Enjolras proposes, more often out of curiosity for his answers and reasoning than out of any malicious intent. Les Amis’ videos gain handfuls of critical, if slightly mocking comments, and Enjolras learns to reinforce and rewire his arguments to be very near bulletproof.
For his part, Enjolras catches up on every single video Grantaire has posted, giving a Like to every single one. Not all of them are song covers, there are a small number of video journal type things wherein he either complains about his life or the state of the world in general (and these, Enjolras finds riveting), and there’s even one or two speed drawings, which, wow. (Grantaire sheepishly admits that he hates doing them, the video editing and the effort put in are apparently just not worth the end result.) Enjolras isn’t entirely sure it’s legal for one person to be so damn talented.
There’s one video in particular that sticks in his mind, and it’s not even anything terribly special, but at the same time it is. Grantaire announces at the start that this is dedicated to his friend Eponine, who apparently was forcing him to sing this cover for losing a bet. At which point, a stunning dark skinned, dark haired girl sticks her head into the frame and sticks her tongue out at the camera before letting loose a stream of rapid fire French.
Enjolras is getting steadily better at the language thanks to Grantaire, but he still has to rewatch it to pick up on what she’s saying properly. Eventually he works out it’s along the lines of “Hello internet-crawling heathens! I am the best friend, and if you don’t Like, Subscribe or Share, I will find out where you live and your computer will mysteriously disappear and / or be incapable of doing anything but Rick Rolling you day in, day out.”
There’s a brief pause in which Grantaire tries to playfully shove her away from the camera so he can get on with the video, but she continues offscreen, only her hand still visible, finger wagging at the camera. “Also, to all you ladies commenting and asking if he’s single, I have good news and bad news. The good news! He is single! The bad news - for you ladies, at least - he is hella, hella gay! Ciao for now!”
Grantaire is by this point blushing furiously and just shakes his head at the camera like that guy from The Office for a few moments before launching into his cover of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ Do You Wanna Touch Me, the delighted shrieks of Eponine just audible in the background.
Enjolras thinks he likes that girl. (Enjolras also thinks he should maybe look into the rapid increase in his heartbeat, his extremities all going numb, and the sheer bliss that floods his mind while she proclaims R to be hella, hella gay. But, then again, maybe not.)
His friends learn to stop questioning why he’s smiling at his phone like an idiot, or why a certain part of a speech makes him more passionate than others. They start asking how Grantaire’s doing, and what he would think of certain matters and issues. None of them mention that they partially do so purely to see Enjolras’ face light up as he talks of his friend.
From: email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s your favourite song?
From: email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org
At the moment?
Enjolras logs on the next day to see a new video’s been uploaded. He clicks on the link without a second thought, and when Grantaire says “This one’s for you, mon ami,” he knows exactly what’s coming, and can’t for the life of him stop grinning.
Now, Enjolras isn’t one for illegal downloads. But if he converts that video to store on his iPod, well, that’s between him and his laptop, isn’t it?
At some point, Enjolras realizes it’s a lot easier to record his arguments and speeches and post them to show Grantaire than it is to constantly type them out. At first he makes the mistake of posting them publicly, but he quickly learns to tweak the settings so that they’re visible only to Grantaire after people start replying in ignorant and at times just plain idiotic fashions. Between the two of them, they strike them down pretty damn efficiently, but it’s still a pointlessly exhausting exercise and Enjolras would much rather spend that time talking to the person the videos were actually intended for.
When Grantaire suggests Skype and offers his username, Enjolras accepts immediately. There’s a video call coming through within seconds, and Enjolras’ heartbeat is out of control as he hits the button to accept.
He takes an involuntary sharp intake of breath as the unruly head of dark curls and impossibly blue eyes of his friend materialize in front of him on the screen. Enjolras is struck with an indescribable feeling of he’s real, and he just wants to reach through the screen and confirm it by touch.
Grantaire is grinning unabashedly. “Hi,” he says, and that’s all it takes for Enjolras’ heart to accept its fate.
Enjolras hopes his sudden realization of oh my god I think I might be falling for you isn’t visible on his face as he grins shyly in return, “Hi to you too.”
“Good to know I have the right Enjolras,” he’s still smiling, totally unaware of the fact that Enjolras hearing his name said by him for the first time is playing havoc with his emotions. “So. How was your day? Start any revolutions?”
And then any sense of awkwardness vanishes and they banter on playfully as they ever are in their typed conversations, telling each other of their days and plans for the week, Grantaire recommending a movie he’d seen and Enjolras cheerfully relaying a story of how Bossuet, Feuilly and Bahorel somehow all managed to get their shoelaces tied together and then attempted to descend down a staircase as such. The operative word, here, being “attempted”.
Their call only comes to an eventual end when Grantaire freezes, catching sight of the time. He swears profusely (in French, and Enjolras should not find that hot, and yet) and apologizes, “I have to go, it’s 3am and I need to be in at work for 8!”
“Oh god, don’t apologize, I’m sorry; I had completely forgotten about the time difference,” Enjolras glances at his own clock, reading in at 9pm, New York time. “Speak to you soon?” he asks more than says, smiling hopefully at his friend.
“Of course! Goodnight, Enjolras,” Grantaire waves through the camera and that is oh so adorable, and Enjolras finds himself incapable of not waving back, and they’re both grinning like idiots, and Enjolras has to stifle a giggle to reply “Goodnight, R,” and then neither of them will disconnect the call and they both break down into giggles, this is so embarrassing why aren’t we embarrassed by this, and then Grantaire finally takes it upon himself to flail his arms a bit then hit the button to end the call.
Enjolras has never been happier. He’s still grinning to himself when he decides to call it a night and go to bed early, homework be damned. If Courfeyrac and Combeferre notice any of this from their places on the couch in their shared living room, they don’t mention it.
[They do notice.]
[It’s their job to notice.]
[After all, they’re running the betting pool and both have money on him.]
It’s been the best part of a year, (and, Enjolras would say, it has truly been the best part) when he finally gets introduced to the wily Eponine.
Well, he says ‘introduced’.
What he means is, he’s on facetime to Grantaire and is greatly enjoying the closeup view of his friend’s face when all of a sudden there’s a yelp and some loud swearing as the picture blurs, and suddenly there’s a gleeful face grinning at him breathlessly as she - Enjolras presumes - runs through Grantaire’s apartment in an attempt to keep his phone prisoner.
“Salut!” she cries cheerfully, and Enjolras responds in kind, deeply amused. Then she continues, still in French, and it takes Enjolras a moment to catch up even after all this time because apparently Eponine speaks in her own brand of language.
“Well, ‘Taire, you weren’t lying after all; he does look like all the sex-mad gods in creation got together to sculpt a wet dream into human form.” She winks at Enjolras who has either blushed all his blood into his face or spontaneously caught on fire - he’s honestly not sure which he’d prefer, at this point - and her grin is wicked as a strangled yell sounds from somewhere behind her and she glances over her shoulder.
“I never said that!” Grantaire sounds to be in turmoil.
“He really did,” she whispers to Enjolras, who can only reply with a high pitched “oh my god”.
And then there’s another yelp, only this time it’s Eponine, and Grantaire has presumably tackled her to the ground to rescue his phone because the screen goes blank and then Enjolras is met with the call ended screen.
“What,” he says to himself. After a moment he bursts out laughing and drops back onto his bed, firing off an email to Grantaire as he does so.
“Enjolras! We’re about to head out, come on!” he jerks up at Combeferre’s call, jumping guiltily. They’re all going out for dinner, and he’d totally forgotten.
It isn’t until later when they’re midway through the meal that he realizes what he sent.
From: email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org
Define “sex-mad gods”. xxx
Enjolras manages to avoid letting his friends see Grantaire for a few weeks more. He would say that he was worried about what they’d think of him, but that would be a complete lie. He knew his friends would adore him; who wouldn’t? He’s just, as he is finding out, incredibly possessive when it comes to the extremely gorgeous French guy he Skypes every single day.
He doesn’t see it as a problem. Really.
He’s had a terrible day by the time he gets around to signing onto Skype; so terrible, in fact, that he actually considered just going to bed instead of talking to Grantaire. His alarm didn’t go off, he nearly missed his bus, didn’t have time for lunch, had to deal with an absolute ignoramus who didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, and to top it all off at some point he apparently lost one of his favorite gloves.
He knows as soon as the call connects that he’s made the right choice.
Within minutes he’s bent double with laughter, laptop wobbling dangerously on his knees as Grantaire, in tears of mirth on the other end, tells him a story involving his life drawing class, a geriatric yet lively nude model, and an inconveniently timed and placed shoe-tying incident that will apparently go down in history as the best thing that has ever happened in all Grantaire’s years of schooling. Apparently some poor boy was mortified, but at his expense, Enjolras’ day was salvaged.
He’s laughing so hard that he doesn’t even hear the key turning in the lock, or notice anybody entering the flat. Seated in the living room as he is, it’s easy as hell for Courfeyrac to drop his bags and sneak up behind him, leaning over the back of the couch to pluck the laptop out of his hands.
“Hey, what?” Enjolras starts a little in surprise, still laughing breathlessly, two spots of colour high up on his cheeks and tears welling in his eyes, and swats uselessly at Courfeyrac who just dances out of reach. “Give him back.”
“Nope,” Courfeyrac grins, then nearly drops the laptop. “Jesus Christ, you’ve been holding back on us. You didn’t mention he was this fucking hot.” Courf glares in an accusatory fashion at Enjolras who just covers his face with his hands and waits for him to finish.
“Yes, well, he is,” he mumbles through his hands, but it’s not clear if he’s heard by either party.
He can just make out Grantaire saying through the speakers “Courfeyrac, I presume?” to which Courf just beams.
“Hot French guy knows me!” he brags to Enjolras, plopping himself down on the couch beside him.
“Yes,” Enjolras mutters, “I know hot French guy knows you, I am the one who told hot French guy about you, can I please have him back now.”
He doesn’t see the pleased look on Grantaire’s face as he calls him ‘hot French guy’, because he hides it before he can look over; but not before Courfeyrac sees. He grins wolfishly and hands the laptop back to Enjolras with a flourish.
“Anyway, Enj, I wanted your advice,” Courfeyrac digs in a shopping bag for a moment before tugging out a pair of hot pink skinny jeans. “Are these too gay, even for me?”
Enjolras, forgetting his Skype partner for the time being, just gives him a look. An eyebrows raised, straight mouthed, peering over non-existent glasses look. “Courfeyrac. You are literally fucking a guy. I don’t think any type of clothing of any color is going to make you any less gay. Actually, I’m pretty sure at this point you could be considered the Supreme gay. So no, Courf. Just wear the fucking jeans.”
Courfeyrac can hear Grantaire chuckling down the other end, and he pouts. “Somebody’s touchy today. I’m going to wear these at every meeting from now on, just to piss you off,” he pauses. “And, all things considered, if anybody’s going to be the Supreme gay, I’m pretty sure as the leader of a ragtag band of merry homosexuals, that would be you.”
Enjolras mouths the words after him, a look of disbelief passing over his face, then he shakes his head to clear it. “To be fair, the majority of us aren’t actually gay. I think the correct term would be ‘ragtag band of merry queers’, if we’re being precise.”
Courfeyrac rolls his eyes. “It’s you, of course we’re being precise. But my point still stands, o gay Supreme, considering that you are. Gay, I mean.”
“Yes, thank you, Courfeyrac, the obvious has now been plainly stated. Are we done now?”
Courfeyrac doesn’t answer Enjolras immediately, instead catching Grantaire’s eye. He’s staring, jaw dropped, and while Enjolras isn’t looking he deliberately dips his head to indicate him and frowns disbelievingly at Courfeyrac, who answers him with a slight nod. The expression of hopeful joy that flits across his features is truly beautiful, and Courfeyrac considers his job done.
He turns to look appraisingly at Enjolras. “You haven’t eaten today, have you? Ergo, bad mood. Get something to eat. You,” here he points at Grantaire. “Make sure he eats something healthy. Now we’re done.”
And with that, he gets up and leaves, taking his shopping with him.
Enjolras turns slowly to look at Grantaire, blushing. “Sorry about that,” he says meekly.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Grantaire grins. “I like him. So, what takeout places can you order from there?”
A week later, his next video goes up. He’s been acting strange the last couple of days, and he insists it’s just tiredness and work catching up on him, but Enjolras is still concerned.
And then he sees the video and realizes; it was nervous anticipation - worry, even.
Grantaire introduces it with nothing but “Pour mon ami”, and then he’s singing. And it’s another one Enjolras recognises - one of Bahorel’s bands, he thinks - and then he starts paying attention to the lyrics, and oh.
Grantaire’s been online for a while now, and usually Enjolras waits for him to instigate the call because of the time difference and the fact that he occasionally forgets and leaves his laptop on overnight, and Enjolras doesn’t want to wake him up. But when the song nears its end - “I know that we're only friends, I hope this feeling never ends. If I could only hold you; it's the only thing I want to do” - Enjolras hits pause and call in quick succession.
Grantaire accepts the call almost immediately. He looks terrified, dark circles under his eyes, hair even more of a mess than usual, sweater sleeves pulled over his hands as he picks at the fraying edges.
As soon as he sees him, Enjolras blurts out “I love you.”
And then all traces of uncertainty vanish, and Grantaire’s grin is blinding.
“So, let me get this straight,” Jehan says, splaying his hands out on the table. “You only got to know this guy, from another continent, by a complete accident because this idiot-” here he nudges Courfeyrac, slumped contentedly at his side “-lost a bunch of his philosophy notes and needed online lectures that this guy just so happened to comment on once, and he asked you out by posting a video of him singing to you online?”
Enjolras nods, blushing shamelessly.
Jehan throws up his hands. “There you have it! The world is a beautiful, beautiful place.”
“Enjolras, if you could stop sexting your super-hot French boyfriend long enough to proofread this draft, that would be deeply appreciated.”
“Fuck off, Combeferre.”
Enjolras doesn’t know what he’s done wrong. He doesn’t even know if he has done something wrong, he just knows that something is fundamentally wrong and Grantaire won’t tell him what it is.
They’ve been together for over a year, known each other for nearly two, when it happens. Grantaire appears online less and less, and when he does appear he’s far less talkative and looks constantly exhausted. When asked he just replies that he’s being worked to the bone, but he won’t meet Enjolras’ eyes even through the webcam.
But Enjolras doesn’t push it, because - fuck, he’s so desperately in love with this man he’s never met, and he doesn’t want to fuck it up, he doesn’t want to lose him, he’s so scared of losing him.
R is now online!
Enjolras eagerly awaits the call to come in, but instead sees him typing.
beautiful i am completely warn out i and have to get up early to work i am so sorry angel i will talk to you tomorrow x x x
He signs out again, and Enjolras is utterly downtrodden.
His friends know something’s happened. They don’t say anything, don’t ask, but they must know.
Then one day Courfeyrac, unable to bear it any more, slips an arm around his shoulders and gives him a squeeze.
“Enjolras? He’ll have a reason. Don’t let it get to you so much, he totally adores you. I’m sure it’ll all become clear in time.”
Enjolras offers him a weak smile, and goes back to reorganizing their schedule.
Grantaire starts leaving him messages when he’s offline. And that’s better than before, but fuck time differences, Enjolras thinks bitterly every time he receives one.
(One just says I love you in seven different languages. He can’t find it in him to hate that one.)
Then he disappears altogether. Enjolras is distraught until two days in when he receives a message in his YouTube inbox.
enjolras hi eponine here!!!!!!!!!! grantaire wants me to let u know that his internet has been cut off and he wont be able 2 talk for a few days but AND I QUOTE “i love you i love you i love you i love you you are my world xxxxxxxxx” SO THERE’S THAT!!!!!! BYEEEEEEEEEE KISSES XXXXXXXXXXXXX
Enjolras is consoled by this, but only a little. If Grantaire really wanted to get in touch, there was Eponine’s internet, his school building, the library, countless internet cafes.
He tries not to let it get to him.
(He doesn’t smile much anymore.)
Enjolras stands at the front of the backroom in their favorite cafe, desperate to get the meeting underway. Everyone is already here, twenty minutes early, except for Courfeyrac, both of which scenarios are utterly unheard of. The former, because Marius (playing with what seems to be Feuilly’s camera), Bahorel (who usually slinks in after they’ve started or forgets to come at all), and Joly (usually working volunteer shifts at the hospital or elsewhere right up until the last minute) are never on time; the latter because Courfeyrac almost always takes both Enjolras and Combeferre in, being the only one out of them all to have a car and given the amount of stuff they sometimes have to carry in.
Both of these things have set Enjolras on edge; there’s a peculiar mood about the place, everyone seems to be chattering too loudly, too happily, too brightly.
Enjolras, quite frankly, just wants to get this thing started so he can finish and go home and mope some more.
Then Jehan, curled up on one side of a couch with his laptop, lets out a squeal, earning him curious looks from the rest of the room, excluding Enjolras.
“E,” he calls out to get his attention, then beckons him over with a wave of his arm. “R uploaded a video.”
Enjolras doesn’t even ask how he found his channel to subscribe to; he’s across the room in a heartbeat, folding himself onto the arm of the couch beside Jehan. “Play it,” he breathes, eyes wide, voice vulnerable.
Grantaire’s smiling, and a laugh sounds off camera - Eponine is with him, clearly. “Okay,” he says in English, and that’s new because he always introduces his videos in French, always. “This is a - stop laughing, Eponine - this is a. Well. Stupid song, oh my god - shut up, Eponine - basically, just,” he stops and laughs. “Oh my god, never mind, here it goes, I can’t believe - anyway.”
He starts playing a familiar tune, and he won’t stop grinning and then - oh my god, Enjolras understands the laughter now.
“Hey there, Enjolras, what’s it like in New York City? I’m four thousand miles away, but boy tonight you look so pretty - yes you do. Times Square can’t shine as bright as you, I swear it’s true.”
Enjolras can’t stop the peal of laughter that escapes him, and it feels like a huge weight is being lifted from his chest. Some of the others have crowded around the laptop now as well, and Combeferre pats Enjolras on the shoulder with a grin.
“Four thousand miles seems pretty far, but we've got planes and trains and cars. I’ll walk to you if I have no other way.” Enjolras’ hands move to cover his mouth, unable to deal with the cocktail of emotions swirling through his body.
“Your friends will all make fun of us [there’s emphasis on the ‘your’ and Bahorel shouts ‘hey, that’s us!’] and we'll just laugh along, because we know that none of them have felt this way… ExceptmaybeCourfeyracandJehan.” Jehan claps his hands delightedly at that, a faint blush dusting his face.
When the song ends with a final repetition of “What you do to me,” Grantaire just laughs one more time and shakes his head at the camera, an uncontrollable grin on his face. “See you soon,” he says, and then he’s reaching for the camera to flick it off, and the video ends. Les Amis all cheer and applaud it, and he knew they would love him, and it’s all a little too much.
Enjolras lets his eyes slide closed, hands still over his mouth, and a tear falls down his cheek. Jehan nudges him and says softly, “Happy crying?”
“Happy crying,” Enjolras confirms, and opens his eyes to smile at him. “I love him so much,” he whispers to the other man, and he looks positively delighted to hear it.
“Yes,” says Combeferre conversationally, from the other end of the couch. “Such a shame that he lives so far away.”
“Combeferre,” Jehan hisses, outraged at the usually subtle man’s complete lack of tact. Enjolras’ face has fallen and he’s staring at his best friend, stricken.
“What?” he turns to them, glancing from one to the other. “It’s true. I mean, he’s on a different continent. He can’t, say, turn up at meetings, stay over at anyone’s, come to parties, sneak up behind Enjolras and hug him…”
“What, like this?” a heavily accented voice says right by Enjolras’ ear as a warm pair of arms wrap around his waist. He lets out a shriek, nearly simultaneously elbowing Jehan in the face and falling off of the sofa arm to boot.
Enjolras turns his head so fast he nearly gives himself whiplash, hands up covering his own mouth in shock. Brilliant blue eyes and an ecstatic grin framed by crazy dark throwaway curls linger just inches from his face. “Grantaire?” he cries, muffled through his hands.
But Grantaire hears him loud and clear because he just nods, “Hey there, Enjolras,” he doesn’t quite sing, but there’s enough of a lilt in his voice to suggest it. His arms are still around his waist as Enjolras turns on his perch to face him fully.
Eyes wide with wonder, he reaches out with his right hand and places it on Grantaire’s cheek, rough with stubble, and the other man leans into it slightly as he runs his thumb along his cheekbone.
“It’s really you,” he whispers. “You’re… Here. You’re here. You-” he snaps out of his daze to grab the front of Grantaire’s shirt and drag him into a kiss; rough and messy and teeth clashing together but they don’t even care, it’s perfect, the force of it toppling them backwards into the space neatly vacated by a scrambling Jehan who had anticipated this, dragging both the laptop and Combeferre with him.
There’s a loud congratulatory cheer, but Enjolras doesn’t even hear it, the kiss now broken off as they just stare wordlessly at each other, drinking in every inch of their faces and committing it to memory, Grantaire sprawled over Enjolras on the couch. Grantaire moves after a moment, tugging them both upright so that he can embrace his boyfriend properly, arms wound tight around each other, faces pressed to necks. Enjolras breathes in deeply, and he still can’t believe it, he’s here. His wonderful, incredible, talented Grantaire is on the same couch as him.
“How long do you reckon until either of them say another coherent sentence?” Bossuet mutters to Joly. Enjolras tries to shoot a glare at them over Grantaire’s shoulder, but he’s so happy it probably (definitely) comes out as a goofy smile.
“That,” remarks Feuilly to Marius, “Was incredibly well-timed, considering I genuinely had no reason to bring my camera today. And now, poof!- potentially the most adorable footage I will ever capture. Fantastic.” Marius nods in agreement.
“You knew about this. Both of you,” Jehan is berating Combeferre and Courfeyrac now, swatting them gently with the laptop. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Combeferre smiles, “Jehan, he was sad; you would have told him and ruined the surprise.” Jehan pouts. “Plus, if it’s any consolation, I only told Courfeyrac because I needed someone who could legally drive to pick up R from the airport.”
“Hey,” Courfeyrac doesn’t sound too put out, though, because he’s too busy being enamoured by a Jehan who just started giggling adorably.
Meanwhile, Grantaire’s face falls. “I’m so sorry, you were sad? I didn’t think, I-” Enjolras, now manouvered to be sitting on his lap, silences him with a kiss, but it’s gentle.
“Start from the beginning,” he prompts, reaching for Grantaire’s hands and curling their fingers together.
“I’ve been offered a job. Just a temporary one, based in the city. A year’s position as an… Apprentice of sorts for an international advertising corporation. A design lackey. I started looking for placements here a few months after we started dating,” he confesses, ducking his head in embarrassment.
Enjolras kisses his forehead before pressing his own against it. “Go on,” he encourages.
“Yes, so, I got offered this job, only I had to pay off all my rent and finish all my coursework back home before I could come out here for good, so that is why I was in such a horrible hurry for a while there, why I never came online. Which,” sorrowful eyes seek out Enjolras’. “I will be eternally sorry for.”
“Doesn’t matter. You’re forgiven,” Enjolras says with a sense of finality. Grantaire still looks unsure, so Enjolras sighs. “‘Taire,” he whispers, letting the adoration seep into his voice. “You literally gave up your entire life to come live here - gave up Eponine. How could I not forgive you anything?”
Grantaire surges up to kiss him again, and this time it’s a deep, lingering kiss, mouths sliding open together and swallowing each other’s soft sighs. Enjolras briefly wonders, now that it is physically possible for him to kiss Grantaire, how he’s ever going to convince himself to stop.
The answer, apparently, is Combeferre, who sees fit to swat them both over the back of the head with a newspaper when he deems the kiss “too heated” to be continued whilst in decent company. (Courfeyrac and Bahorel snort at ‘decent’, but they are ignored.)
Enjolras pouts at him, fingers curling and uncurling reflexively around Grantaire’s collarbone, even while he’s nuzzling soft kisses into his neck.
Combeferre shoots them a level look. “You do realize,” he says slowly, with the air of someone explaining no, you do not stick your fingers into electrical sockets to a small child. “That you two live together now. You, Enjolras, have a perfectly good flat currently sitting empty seeing as your housemates are both here.”
Enjolras sits bolt upright and exchanges a fleeting look with Grantaire before they’re on their feet and hastily heading for the door. Enjolras hesitates for a second, one hand on the doorhandle and the other with its fingers entwined around Grantaire’s. “Gentlemen,” he says with a nod to the room at large, and then he’s gone, Grantaire tugged fast behind him.
The enormity of the situation won’t set in until the next morning, when they’ll awake beside each other and realize, this is it, this is how we get to spend the rest of our lives now, together, with the love of my life; they’ll wake up the rest of the household by yelling with pure, unhindered joy and throwing each other around the living room in an adrenaline fueled victory dance.
But now, when they’re peacefully curled up facing each other in his bed - theirs, now - divested of all clothing, Enjolras’ head on Grantaire’s chest with their legs tangled together and sheets tugged up to their arms around each other’s waists, that Enjolras speaks up.
“So,” he ventures, trying not to laugh. “How does the ‘wet dream sculpted into human form by sex mad gods’ shape up in real life?”
He deserves the pillow he receives to the face, as well as the “Oh my god, fuck off,” that comes with it.