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To the Next Barricade

Chapter Text

 

 ***

 

Enjolras was advancing.

 

In a vast wheat field, Enjolras was moving fast along the flat ridges. The pitch-black sky was gradually turning into a miserable grey color. Dim light faintly seeped from the distant horizon, giving it a tint of warmth. Surrounding the light were thick clouds with storms breeding inside. They slowly and quietly surged around the centre of the radiation. A gigantic red monster was about to roar out of the skyline, setting light to everything.

 

His eyes quickly located the target. A hidden animal path that stretched into the field.
 


Enjolras walked off the ridge, and tried his best not to tramp over more straws than those already crushed by the last traveller. The spikes on their panicles kept sweeping over his legs and gave him slight stings, like the prickly yet gentle tails of some wild animal. Not far away, a confusion of wings fluttering suddenly broke out. It was produced by the crows that recklessly pestered the field before the dawn. Yet they were easily scared by the trivial movements of wind and grass, and the flock dissipated all in an instant. He stopped at the end of the path. In front of him, a small area of wheat was pressed flat.

 

Before he got the chance to speak, the man lying there opened his eyes. There suddenly came a strong wind, and the boundless wheat field transformed into a turbulent sea of gold.

 

The sun had come up. 

 

Grantaire was lying on his arms. He smiled to Enjolras without moving.

 

“Good morning, Apollo.”

 

“You were sleeping.”

 

“I was waiting for the sun.”

 

“They said you were going to the experiment field. I thought you had decided to undertake the sentry’s duty on some random whim.”

 

“I’m sorry to let you down.” 

 

“Not that much.”

 

“I plan to take some photos of the sunrise on the last day of my life.”


 
“First, today is not the last day of your life. Second, you didn’t bring a camera.”

 

“Haven’t you heard that human eyes are the best cameras? Apart from that, since there’s no chance to develop the films, I guess less formalities will save me some time.” 

 

“You should have done it two decades ago.”


 
“Then you would get a more cynical Grantaire, perhaps starkly naked, let stuffs in and out all in a barrel. Really, what do you come for, Enjolras? Offering the last chance of salvation to the sinners in Sodom before doomsday?”

 

“To give you my greetings, and ask what can I do for you.”


 
“Oh dear, did I just heard Enjolras joking? Now I do regret not taking my camera with me, or even better, a video recorder. ‘Yes, King Alexander, stand out of my sunlight.’ For the sake of God I will give not such a reply. The Sun himself is standing in front of me.”

 

“The joke stops here. We must leave. The air strikes and skirmishes are over. They will launch total attack in the morning. We have information that the first wave will come from this direction."

 

“You are worried about me. You come specially from the barricade because you are worried that I might be caught in the attack.”

 

“……”

 

“But why…why you? You could have sent Courfeyrac, or Feuilly, Bahorel. Why should you come under the risk of being hit? Oh, I see. You are not the type that allows others to take risk for you. But you don’t have to, you could have just…”

 

“I should say this a long time ago: You talk too much. Hurry, the attack may start at any minute.

 

“……”

 

Enjolras looked down at him with a blank face, his hand still stretching in the air patiently. It seemed that Grantaire had finally grasped the situation. He rubbed his dusty right hand on his shirt, before reaching it out to Enjolras with great hesitation. He looked as if about to touch a holy sculpture, rather than holding his hand. His was about to touch Enjolras’ fingertips— 

 

Within fifty yards from them, an artillery shell landed like a thunderbolt, before exploding with a deafening bang, shooting heat waves and black smoke everywhere. The wheat field caught fire, and the air smelt like gunpowder, charcoal, and the aroma of overcooked bread.

 

Enjolras dragged Grantaire up with surprising strength, gripped his hand tightly and rushed towards the opposite direction. There was no time to worry about the wheat now.

 

In the golden field that extended to infinity, two young men were running straight towards the barricade at full speed. Bunches of wheatears were brought down by them with every step.

 

A blood-red sun was rising behind their back, and death kept chasing relentlessly just a few steps away.

 

TBC.