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Beyond the Shallows of The Singing Island

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Grantaire begrudgingly liked humans. He liked humans better than he liked merfolk, at least. Perhaps that was not saying much, but he appreciated the human capacity to perceive so little, yet claim to know so much and he applauded their willingness to drink themselves blind and stupid. That was most certainly the way to go.

But perhaps he was doomed from his very conception to resent on some level both species; Grantaire was a half-breed. His strange mermaid of a mother had seduced a human—rather than devouring him—and had carried the child to term, the product: an abomination.

His biology was mixed; his two legs were covered in silvery blue scales, light at the front and dark at the back, which did not stop at his waist as they should, instead climbing at a slant to the ribs on his right side and growing in patches across his chest; his feet were human in general shape, but grew out like fins at the toes; his legs in structure were slightly ill formed, forcing him to use a cane when he walked on land, but he was quick in the water, though not so quick as a full merman would be; his skin was a dark tan like his father's, but patched with rough pale sections of tiny shark-like scales, making him stand out against the gray pale merfolk. To further his misfortune, the face he had been cursed with was also not a pretty sight, a patch of rough scales started below his right eye and stretched in a thin path to his cheek that he looked as though he was perpetually crying, his other cheek was nearly all pale, earning many a joke that at his construction, his maker had slapped him for his smart mouth, or if the teller were cruel, for being a monstrosity. More unfortunate still, his features were ill-fitting for his face, though his eyes at least were pretty enough, dark and shimmering like that of the merfolk and framed with even darker lashes to match his mop of dark curls. To complete the picture, his teeth were sharp past his incisors and a silvery blue spinal fin rose from his back. He was indeed a monster.

He had been sent away to live among humans at age six after having failed to keep up with the rest of his pod and being then too large to be pulled along by his mother. On land, he was shut away inside his father's house for fear of discovery. His father had no malice for him, but did not understand his plight in the same way that his mother did not. He was caught between worlds. With his father, Grantaire was taught to read and write in the human way, and his days were filled with stories.

His only friend had been the neighbor boy who discovered him swimming in the bay when he was seven. They had been fast friends and remained so to date. Bahorel brought him stories of what it was to be normal by the human standard. He spoke of sailors’ tales and street fights and rumors of buried treasure and Grantaire hung on his every word, waiting for the next time Bahorel would sneak onto his father’s roof to speak through the open window.

When he was twelve, his father had fallen ill with a dreadful cough and died seeking treatment. After that, Grantaire could not stand to stay alone in the house, so he ventured out. He went to sea and visited the merfolk who found him distasteful, all except his mother who had visited him every chance she could while he was growing and begged that he live with them upon hearing his father’s passing. He had relented and lived two years among them, until his mother had been killed by an angered sea serpent who Grantaire had been too slow to escape. The beast had died choking on her body. After that he was no longer welcome in the pod.

And so, at fourteen, Grantaire had returned to the mainland and found a taste for wine. By that time, Bahorel had made other friends who were clever and could keep secrets. They met on the dock behind the café Musain, accepting Grantaire as one of their own. Those in attendance called themselves Les Amis: Courfeyrac, Combeferre, Feuilly, Jehan, Eponine, Bossuet, and Joly. Courfeyrac and Combeferre led the meetings, discussing only the most serious of topics, most often mapping rumors and compiling information. They were building a comprehensive treasure map, or they were trying. Grantaire and Feuilly were their most vital sources, Grantaire bringing stories from the sea and Feuilly bringing stories from the sailors as he spent his days working on whatever ship could make use of him. Bahorel would be a good source as well if half his stories were not fabrications, he never seemed to say which were true. Once information was gathered, Jehan drew their maps for them, taking care to account for all the information they could get their hands on for geographic accuracy. The dream was to purchase L’abc, a fair-sized ship owned by Bossuet’s uncle, Bossuet knowing the vessel like the back of his hand and having experience sailing it. In preparation for the purchase, Eponine managed their compiled hidden wealth and thought through the practical aspects of what life would be like on a ship, what supplies they would require and for good measure, stole what was too expensive to purchase. And too keep them fit at sea, they had Joly the hypochondriac doctor to worry over their health. A perfect silly plan, which grew more and more serious with age. Still, they were children, adventurous, and ambitious and above all, dreaming of freedom at sea.

Unlike the rest, Grantaire had the freedom of the sea, but could see no point to it. He now, as an adult of twenty-two years, spent his days swimming alone, having no purposed or place at sea or on land, save for the tri-weekly meetings with his friends. To give himself some purpose, he kept watch of the ships making their way to and from the mainland, keeping them from sailing to their doom.

It wasn’t that he particularly cared, but humans did have a terrible habit of getting themselves killed at sea. And there was a particular area in which they seemed to do so on purpose: on the shallows surrounding The Singing Island. For Grantaire, the small island was out about at two-hour swim from shore on a good day. When he had been a child, it held a flock of sirens who caused such trouble that below the surface, there was a graveyard of ships. And when no ships were in need of redirection, Grantaire explored the ruins for gold and treasure maps to take to his friends. More often than not, the gold went toward fueling his drinking habit, but most had been brought away by other merfolk before him.

When ships did drift too close, Grantaire would swim over and call up to them. He was not especially gifted when it came to tempting sailors, his pull over them was not so strong and it was difficult to keep them from jumping overboard rather than redirecting their boat, but perhaps eight of ten times he was successful in his goal and no one died.

As a youngling, Grantaire had never gone close to the island. Merfolk generally could not stand sirens, their voices were repellent while they drew in humans, but they seemed to have no effect on Grantaire. As such, he had personally nothing against the creatures, though he wished they were not so murderous. Not that he objected to the killing of humans outright, he was rather desensitized to such things after traveling among a pod. The merfolk often killed sailors by luring them overboard to drown them, but one was usually enough. The sirens would often let an entire ship meet its end and eat only a select few. If anything, it was needlessly wasteful.

Regardless of his feelings, time had brought change to the island, where there had once been many voices calling out from the shore, the men were being called now by one seemingly lone siren. He had been in isolation as far as Grantaire knew, for the past four years.

Grantaire had begun guiding the ships in the year before the flock had left. When he heard a week of nothing from the always active island, he had taken their silence as a sign that they had moved on as they sometimes did. However, over the next year, rumors of toppled ships made their way back to him and he returned to hear the voice of the one remaining siren. Oddly enough, he was never singing as the others had done before him, he was instead always talking. Ranting more like. Sometimes—often—Grantaire stopped to listen.

The siren’s mind seemed to work strangely. They were always one-way conversations, or rather lectures on every topic imaginable. For the most part he seemed to argue with whatever information some apparently imagined other person was bringing him, citing past contradictions in his arguments. Often, his information was strange and inaccurate, but perhaps that was to be expected when he lived alone on an island. For example, he seemed to be under the impression that human doctors healed through the use of dark magic, though he still seemed to support their actions healing people. He seemed to have a fixation on humans, misinformed as it was.

So far as Grantaire could tell, he was an oddity in comparison to what he knew of the rest of his flock. Or perhaps he was not from the same flock at all, he could not remember hearing his voice before he was alone. He also seemed to have personally slighted the local merfolk, they had warned the fish off journeying too close to shore and told stories of his terribleness. He was so beautiful the other sirens had grown jealous and slashed his face, he was so hideous that he had frightened the others away, he had been abandoned because he was a cannibal, he was confused by his own nature and wished he were human and so on and so on. Grantaire doubted these stories, but thought there must be some reason for his isolation, sirens always lived in flocks. Perhaps he was mad, that would certainly explain his confused speech.

Sometimes Grantaire wondered if the siren was lonely. He never said so, but at times he cursed the rest for leaving him. The half-human might have considered visiting, but he didn't much like the idea of being laughed at by what was surely a beautiful monster. And besides that, sirens liked neither human nor merfolk, he was likely to be attacked rather than greeted. No, instead he sat afar and listened, never close enough to even catch sight of the creature.

It was on one such day where Grantaire found himself floating near the island listening to the siren. He was speaking about human dress today, though his information was outdated by many years. The fool, no one wore tall hats anymore.

The weather was poor, a storm was rolling in and really, the half-merman needed to take cover, but there was a ship fast approaching so he stayed to see it safely by. It was a miscalculation on his part. By the time the ship reached him, the storm was raging. Grantaire was pulled below the waves. Humans were falling into the water above him and the boat was tipping. When he surfaced, he was struck in the head by some falling object and the world went black.

When he woke, Grantaire could feel sand against his back, only his face was not submerged in the rain cooled water. The pull of the waves was not so rough, so the storm must have passed while he was dead to the world.

His head ached. He brought a hand to his forehead and felt something thick and leafy. He raised his hand to remove it, thinking he had seaweed stuck to his face, but an alien hand stopped him.

"It will help the healing," said a familiar voice. Grantaire tried to sit up, but was held down at the shoulders. "Stop moving. You were very much more cooperative asleep. Or unconscious rather. Though I suppose I am glad you are awake, you are the first body to turn up here alive in a very long time and I am dreadfully sick of dead bodies. By the gods, I have seen so many many dead bodies. I should wish not to see another, but I turn my head right and there are two. Left and there are three more. Take them from my sight,” the voice rattled on, more as a stream of consciousness than the start of a conversation, the speech pattern was even more familiar.

Grantaire tipped his head back to get a glimpse of the source. He opened his mouth to say something obstinate, but the words left him when his eyes found the siren. All sirens were said to be beautiful, but this one was exceptionally so. Long blond hair falling in curls over his shoulders, his chest thin and lean with only a colorful cloth tied around his waist to cover himself and bright white wings stretched out behind him. His eyes were deep and blue, cool as the ocean, skin dark from the sun. Grantaire wasn’t sure how to read his expression, it was not hostile but was restrained in some way, his gaze fixed on Grantaire and impossibly intense.

"The source of these dangerously tempting sounds. Here you are, a deadly angel. Do you know how many deaths you've caused? It is surely more than the five you see by looking about." Grantaire blurted. Probably not the best choice in conversation given the siren could easily kill him in his hazy state.

"I- What?" The siren blinked, as if shocked Grantaire was speaking to him.

"These men are dead for a reason, you are drawing them to their deaths." He looked to the side, seeing the bodies lying amongst some of the ship’s wreckage. Shockingly, the beach was not lined with human bones like in the stories of his youth, that was somehow disappointing. When he looked back, the siren was still staring at him, his face twisting with guilt.

"I don't do so purposely. I did not realize they were here. Their ship, I mean. I was speaking to the birds. Their death was an unhappy accident."

"Why were you speaking to the birds?"

"I don't have anyone to speak to. Or I didn’t. Now you are here and I am speaking to you. What a blessedly odd day."

"I did not know sirens could speak with birds.”

The siren winced. “I would rather speak to any other creature. Or I would rather be completely alone.”

“Why are you alone?"

"My wings are clipped." He held up the damaged tips of his wings for evidence. The feathers at the end of each wing were cut short. “They will not grow back, I have been doomed to an eternity of solitude." He ducked his head, his eyes grazing the sand then flicking back to Grantaire. "You do not cringe at my voice, why is that? Every time I meet merfolk they complain at my voice and I am chased from the water for the next week by sharks."

"Merfolk are nothing if not spiteful. You seem to have vexed them."

"I only try to speak with them when they are close enough. I think perhaps they find my isolation amusing."

"That is likely, but my tolerance of your voice is seemingly a benefit of being a half-breed. To me, your voice is pleasant, but carries unnaturally far."

The siren smiled. "Then you are alone and I am glad to have met you. Though, if you can really stand my voice remains, even my own kind do not wish to hear it. As evidence by their leaving. But that aside, you watch regularly over the passing humans? You did not seem quite so shocked to see me."

"I try to keep them away from this place."

"I'm glad that you do. I was abandoned in part because I refuse to eat them."

“Not even those who wash up?” Grantaire looked to the men on the beach.

“No, and I do not let the beach have them either. Those,” he nodded to the dead men, “I take inland and bury. Unfortunately, I have a vast cemetery.”

"Then what do you eat?"

"Fish, when I can find them, and fruit and plants from the island. When resources are few the birds bring enough to keep me alive to prolong my torment. It is not much but here I am.”

Perhaps that was why the merfolk had warned the fish away, they hoped he would starve.

"Why not just eat humans, it would be far easier."

"I don't like the idea. They are intelligent sentient creatures. They should not be consumed."

Grantaire snorted, “They are not all intelligent. I do not find them pleasing to eat as such an act is partial cannibalism, but I can’t say I stand against the idea on principal.”

“Then why keep them from dying here?”

“What else do I have to do? I have no place in the world. I have nothing to do otherwise.”

The siren’s face twisted with longing. “You have everything to do! You can roam the land and the sea, explore the depths of the oceans and the cities inland. Were I you, I would not spend a moment idle. I would see the world.”

“I cannot see the world and I cannot go where I will on land,” Grantaire scoffed, “The humans would pull me apart for spectacle and at sea I would explore alone, the merfolk cannot stand me. The depths of the ocean are dreadfully lonely.”

The look of longing remained etched into his features, now soft with sorrow. “Then you are trapped in a larger cage than I. Still, I would gladly trade you torments.”

Grantaire changed the subject by degree, not wishing to see a beautiful creature so sad. "Then why draw the humans near if you do not eat them?"

"As I said, I did not know they were near. I would die of loneliness if I could not speak. Trapped in isolation, I have only the birds to speak with and they are cruel and dumb. They mock me with contradictory stories of happy humans and the mainland. They bring me pages only to tear them to pieces before me."

"You have interest in humans I take it?"

"I have much interest in humans. I caught one as a child. One of the few who survived to the shore." He frowned. "He had to be restrained to keep from throwing himself at me, but he tried to teach me written word before he was driven mad. I would join them if I could, the humans, but alas, they would fall to my voice."

“Have you ever left this place?”

“No, I was born here and I will die here. I see only what the waters and the skies bring to me and they bring me mostly death. If you have no place on land or sea, where do you call home?”

"I come and go from the mainland to the water, I have a group of human friends who do not fear me. They are my home."

"What are they like?" The siren’s eyes were fixed on Grantaire as though he held the secrets of the universe.

"They are unrested students, they speak of dangerous ideas, treasure, and conspiracy."

"They sound wonderful."

"They are expecting me this eve, I must leave soon if I am to meet them."

Disappointment flashed over his expression. "Are you sure that you are alright to go?"

"Yes, I was not knocked so badly as to lose my way."

"Then I suppose you must leave. You must not keep these precious humans waiting.”

Grantaire sat up, removing the leaves from his forehead and handing them back to the siren. The tips of his fingers brushed his warm palm and the leaves were clutched tightly.

"It was lovely speaking to you,” the siren said as Grantaire turned his head to leave.

He gave a short laugh, "Only because you have not spoken to another in so long."

"Perhaps, but it was lovely none the less. I will endeavor not to draw more humans to their deaths."

"I'm sure they would appreciate it. Thank you for your care."

"What is your name?” He seemed desperate to keep Grantaire a moment longer. “You did not say."

"Grantaire. And you are?"

"Enjolras."

"Enjolras then, it was good to meet you." Grantaire nodded.

Enjolras appeared startled at the sound of his own name, his wings twitching at his back. "May the sea guide you safely,” he said once he had recovered. His smile was fragile as Grantaire tore himself from the beach and pushed out to sea.


Grantaire did not speak of Enjolras with his friends. He knew they would want to tempt fate with a siren. They would ask him for siren stories and secrets which he did not have. They would want him to go back, and despite what Enjolras had said, Grantaire did not trust him completely. Perhaps that was a lingering prejudice of his time with the merfolk, but he would rather not have to save his friends from drowning once they had set their hearts on seeing such an apparently harmless creature. Instead, he tried—unsuccessfully—to put the siren from his mind.

In the week after their meeting, no ships fell prey to the island and in fact, no sound could be heard from the shore at all. It was enough of a worry that Grantaire returned to see if the siren was still there. Perhaps someone had returned to take him away or he had walked into the sea and drowned himself, he hoped for the former but the latter seemed more likely in seeing the siren’s guilt for drowning the humans.

The half-merman drew himself up upon the beach and was met with no one, there were footprints in the sand but no other sign of life. A flock of sea birds watched him from the edge of the tree line, scattering when he ran them off. Since he had left the island, he had felt the birds watching him, but he was unsure if it was his imagination. Presently, one bird remained unstartled. It hopped up as he approached, skipping along into the trees. Grantaire followed slowly without his cane. The bird flew from tree to tree, deeper and deeper into the wood until they came upon a siren nesting ground. It was empty and eerily silent, in the shadow of a cliff edge. There were some fifteen or so nests of assorted pebbles and rocks, scraps of dried plants and fabrics and netting, the main component appeared to be bloodstained human clothes, faded with age. They must have been mostly unused, but were perfectly maintained. It made his heart ache to think Enjolras took turns sleeping in the depressions left by the flock that had forsaken him.

Ahead, the fluttering bird chirped at him, landing on a branch leading off to a well-worn path. Grantaire followed awkwardly after it, up along the cliffside. He did not usually walk such unsteady ground.

At the top of the cliff there was a plateau. The bird flew to the edge of the drop where Enjolras sat, legs dangling over the side. The small creature landed upon his shoulder, tugging at his hair.

When Enjolras turned, Grantaire had a shock. A piece of fabric was clutched between his teeth as a gag, tied in a knot at the back of his head. The siren’s eyes went wide upon seeing him and he drew his legs up over the cliff edge. The bird was pulling at the knot of the gag, Enjolras waved it off, pulling the knot loose himself and removing the fabric. The corners of his mouth were red and chapped.

"You've returned," Enjolras said in unconcealed awe. His voice was rough with disuse, but still painfully beautiful. "I hadn't thought you would. I am not loved among merfolk nor human."

"I am both and neither. I cannot be held to the standard of either. Have you been wearing that all this time?" He waved a hand to the fabric.

Enjolras nodded, standing. He was barefoot, his toes hooked with sharp talons, his legs dusted with tiny white feathers rather than hair. "Most of it. I remove it only to eat. As you pointed out, I've been selfish to let myself keep talking all this time and I have unfortunately found that on my own I cannot be silent—I must speak. The birds even tell me I talk in my sleep,” he gave a bitter laugh, “This was the best way to stop my sounds short of removing my tongue. They brought me a paring knife before they brought the fabric. I was sorely tempted. Perhaps this choice was cowardly."

"If I had known I would have returned sooner." Grantaire ached with guilt. "This is no way to live."

"It is how I choose to live, but I am glad you have returned.” He shook his head. “Why have you returned?"

"I grew concerned when nothing could be heard from the island."

"Concerned for a lone siren?” he laughed, “Most would come to collect feathers from my corpse."

"You seemed not to be so terrible. I wished that you were alright and hoped perhaps the rest had returned to bring you away."

"Small chance of that. They would return only to tear me to pieces. Come, let us leave this place, you will be more comfortable near the water."

He led and Grantaire followed slowly. Enjolras offered his arm for support along the slope and Grantaire took it gratefully. The siren’s skin was blazing hot, but then Grantaire’s blood ran cold. As they walked, the feathers of Enjolras’ wings brushed the half-human’s back. They did not speak; the siren was unnaturally silent as they walked. They ended their journey at a small pool of freshwater near to the nests. Enjolras sat patiently at the water’s edge while Grantaire slipped into the pool.

"Your silence unnerves me,” Grantaire said, meeting Enjolras’ steady gaze.

"I am afraid to speak too much or else I fear I will get used to it. It is hard to stop once I've started."

"What have you done to occupy yourself?"

"I have thought very long on humans. Your visit set fire to my mind,” he confessed, “The birds have been telling me stories, but I do not trust them.” He paused. “A few claimed to have followed you, but their tales were cruel and I'd rather not believe them."

Then perhaps he had been right to distrust the birds. "I can't say that I've done anything remarkable, good or bad, so I would guess they lie."

"I'm glad,” Enjolras seemed unsurprised, “You seemed pleasant. Or at least not so terrible."

Grantaire laughed, "You have been out of company for too long."

"Regardless, I am enjoying you now. Would you tell me of the world outside? If you don't mind."

"Of course not." He told stories of merfolk and humans and his perception of sirens. They spoke for hours, or rather Grantaire did. Enjolras was so captivated it made Grantaire's heart ache like a physical thing. He would let Grantaire speak until he found something to disagree with, at which point he would start an argument. He would get so far as stating his displeasure before biting his tongue at the realization he was speaking too much. Grantaire found it endlessly frustrating, suddenly finding himself missing his long tirades. "You must not remain here," he said when he had finished a tale of pirate treasure told the week before by Bahorel. By that time, his voice had started to go horse with over use.  

"But I must,” the siren sighed, “There is no other place for me."

"You are wasted here."

"I have no purpose, but that is for the best. I am dangerous."

"It is not for the best." Grantaire paused. "Would you object to leaving this place?"

Enjolras frowned. "By what manner would I leave?"

"My human friends have plans to purchase a ship."

Enjolras’ eyes were wide. "I do not think I could be around humans and not speak. It would drive me mad."

"You said a human tried to teach you written word, do you remember it?"

"Not well enough to communicate."

"What if I helped you? Taught you to read and write proficiently. Then you could communicate while wearing a gag. Would you be willing to leave then?"

"I-“ Enjolras’ eyes were blazing, “You will make my heart burst with this nonsense! Tell me that you mean it truly."

"I do. This cage is not large enough to hold you. You should see the world. I can return on the morrow to begin your lessons."

"No, you must stay here the night. You've already come an exhausting distance."

"I make the trip nearly every day and my friends will expect me tonight and now I have much to tell them."

His expression was disappointed, but he nodded in understanding. "Ah very well. You must not worry your friends."

"I will return early tomorrow,” he promised.

"I think I will not sleep for the excitement."

"Try so that you are in a good mood for the start of lessons."

"I shall do my best."


When Grantaire appeared on the dock of the Musain there was much excitement.

"You have something to say, R," Bahorel said, lifting the half merman to the floor of the dock and thrusting a set of clothes into his hands. Grantaire always wore clothes to the meetings, it made everyone more comfortable, not that he had external genitalia but the humans just found it a bit awkward speaking to a naked fish-man

"What makes you think so?" Grantaire grinned.

"You have a look about you,” Eponine said, handing over his cane. “What is it? What grand story have you this time?"

"I've spoken with the siren."

"You what?! Today?" Courfeyrac gaped.

"Today and a week before."

"And you didn't say so?!"

"I knew it would start a fuss."

"So, why cause a fuss now?" asked Combeferre.

"I think he should not stay there. He spent the last week in silence after I pointed out the deaths he’s caused. He claims not to eat humans and I think I believe him, he is quite intense. A bit irritating, but no one deserves a fate alone ranting at birds."

"What is your plan then?" asked Bossuet, “I’m guessing you have some idea.”

"To teach him to write and then I thought perhaps we could take him aboard L’abc. We've always spoken of setting sail, perhaps now is the time to purchase the ship." That sent a rush of energy through the friends.

"You think it's a good idea to bring a siren aboard?" Joly asked nervously.

"Perhaps. If I find reason to doubt him, I will obviously change plans.”

“Who cares? I want to meet a siren!” Bahorel said, “I’ll put my money in.”

“And mine,” Grantaire agreed.

In the end all agreed, demanding to hear more of this strange siren, but in the end, whether Enjolras was eventually with them or not, they would be setting sail. It was time to put action to words.


When Grantaire returned to the island, Enjolras was waiting at the shore. From the look of the beach, he had been pacing.

Grantaire had brought parchment, quill, ink, and a few easy books in a water sealed bag. When he rose from the water, Enjolras grasped his hands like he feared he was intangible.

“I thought you might not return.”

“There is no need to worry for that, my friends are eager to meet you.”

Enjolras clutched his hands only tighter. “Thank you,” he breathed.

“Don’t thank me yet. Shall we begin?”

Enjolras nodded, pulling him to the tree line, still holding his hand.

This was the start of a precedent; Enjolras was quite touchy, likely because he'd lost his flock. He hadn’t had humanoid contact in near four years

He hovered over Grantaire's shoulder as he wrote, hands often pressed to the half-human’s shoulders. He never stood far away, but not close enough to be irritating. Grantaire allowed the closeness somewhat guiltily, enjoying it far too much to turn it away. One does not simply turn from the touches of a beautiful creature, especially when one is a hideous fish monster.

Enjolras was a quick study, but he knew little. Grantaire continued to bring him books and papers that he would hide below heavy rocks to keep the birds away. Grantaire was growing to hate birds. Enjolras was on good terms with precious few. One of which had taken a particular liking to Grantaire and now rested on his shoulder through meetings at the Musain. It was a pretty white and grey thing. Grantaire and the others would give it messages to bring back to the siren when the meetings were over. The day after the first message was received, Enjolras hadn’t even waited for Grantaire to leave the water before falling into his arms. They had toppled backward into a wave and Grantaire was very grateful he could breathe the water or else he would have inhaled a lungful.

When they rose to the surface Enjolras was cooing. It was a sound he sometimes made when Grantaire assumed he was especially content, usually while he was doing well in his reading or writing, or sometimes when he was listening to Grantaire speak, the sounds were soft and gentle. He didn’t usually notice he was doing it and would duck his head once he realized, but on that day, he had cooed loudly and without care, despite being sopping wet and shaking with the cold of the ocean, arms wrapped around Grantaire’s neck.

Grantaire had awkwardly patted his back. “I assume the bird was a friend then?”

Enjolras nodded against his shoulder.

“Tell her to stick around for all our meetings so that you can be a part of them.”

And then Enjolras had looked at him like he had put the sun in the sky. Grantaire had winced and looked away, he was trying desperately not to get used to such looks. Enjolras was only focused so intently on him because there was no one else. The attention would fall away when he met the others, he assured himself.

Once the siren ‘joined’ the meetings and learned the extent of their interest in treasure, Enjolras began telling siren legends of riches, always told in soft tones and thereafter relayed back to the group. Grantaire’s friends seemed just as interested in Enjolras as Enjolras was in them, a match made by the gods.

As time wore on, in comparison to the first day they had met, Enjolras seemed to glow. He grew bold in his choice of topics, eager to learn everything about which he had been misinformed. And despite his gratefulness to have another person to speak with, Enjolras argued with Grantaire at every opportunity. They agreed on very little in principal, but Enjolras was fierce and passionate when he argued, so Grantaire pressed more than was perhaps wise. They tried not to part ways after an argument.

Once, only days after Enjolras’ lessons had begun, they had stormed their separate ways and Grantaire had left to spend the night getting spectacularly drunk. He had been late to return the next day, thinking Enjolras would be still angry with him, but instead he found Enjolras kneeling on the beach, letting the frigid water soak him up to his waist.

“I worried you would not return,” he said, looking as though he had not slept. There were scratches on his cheeks, the birds had likely been taunting him. They only went for his face when he threw rocks at them.

“From now on, if I do not return, assume I am being kept from doing so. I am sorry to make you worry.” Grantaire wanted there to be no question that he would return again.

Enjolras nodded. “I am sorry for being so difficult.”

“No, you are not,” Grantaire scoffed, “You delight in being difficult and it does not do you grace to lie about it.”

Enjolras had smiled at that.  “You are right, I am sorry that you cannot see how right I am.”

“Says the man who thought the king held court with a trio of hyperintelligent beetle advisors.”

“I confess, there I was woefully misinformed and I thank you for correcting me.”

“I think I have made it my job to correct you, oh what a labor to be a know it all,” he teased.

“I mean it sincerely, you will never know how much I appreciate it,” Enjolras clasped his hands and Grantaire thought to say something clever in response but the siren shone so bright that the half-human found his words lost. 

Chapter Text

While Enjolras was dedicating his time to learning to communicate silently, the future crew of L’abc were putting their long-plotted plan into action. Bossuet had expressed their interest to purchase the ship to his uncle who was glad to accept it after they had scrambled to gather the funds. With the ship secured, their supplies were stocked and maps compiled. The main sticking point was some maintenance that required doing, and which Bahorel had dedicated his time to. The day to set sail was fast approaching. The excitement was palpable, both to leave after so many years of planning and to finally meet Enjolras.

After nearly a month and a half, Enjolras had learned enough that he was ready to meet the humans. Grantaire was not entirely sure if sirens were simply more adept at learning to read and write than humans, or if Enjolras was exceptionally dedicated, having nothing else to do, but he advanced more quickly than could be imagined.

It had become habit amongst the group that each member would write a note to Enjolras and Grantaire would deliver them, taking Enjolras’ replies with him upon his return. That way he could know them before he met them.

In addition to learning to read and write, the group had devised a number of gestures to communicate nonverbally, and Enjolras and Grantaire had endlessly practiced carrying out non-verbal conversations. That was the most frustrating aspect of the endeavor; it was against Enjolras’ nature not to speak. But they were unsure what the response would be if Enjolras even so much as laughed in the presence of humans, so he had to keep himself silent.

Over the time they spent together, Grantaire had grown to like Enjolras exponentially more. The way he argued incessantly, the way he scowled and threw stones at swooping birds, the light in his eyes when he spoke of human culture; he was the single most amazing person Grantaire had ever met. He was not entirely sure what Enjolras thought of him in return. Enjolras often voiced his displeasure at Grantaire’s habits, especially when he wasted time, and despised his cynical outlook, but as soon as their arguments had ended, he would try to find some way to keep the half-human with him for a few moments longer. Sometimes he would ask for more information on the humans, sometimes on the merfolk, sometimes he would translate conversations with the birds who were just as stupid as he said, often he would show Grantaire some new area of the island. Grantaire liked those times best. Enjolras would take his arm and guide him through the wood, telling stories of what it was to grow up there.

He had been one of three children, the others were his two sisters, both older than him. They had likely not been his biological sisters, they were the children of the group; all were their parents. Evidently, even as a child, Enjolras had been difficult. He had stopped eating humans at the age of eleven and had steadfastly refused to sing with the others. When he had been young, these traits were odd for sure but passive, when he grew, he expressed his displeasure of their practices to the elders of the flock who did not take kindly to his ideas.

When he had fought physically to save a sailor who had survived a shipwreck, his betrayal of his people was complete. He had been warned time and time again and this action was one among a thousand others. The only reason he was still alive was that his sisters had fought to keep him breathing. So instead, his wings were clipped and he was abandoned.

This information Grantaire had pieced together through a million bits of conversation, speaking of the events obviously still pained the siren. His protest was on moral grounds, but he still loved his flock and especially his sisters who he would never see again.

Now, he showed Grantaire where the three of them had hunted for water snakes, pointed out all the best tidal pools, and where his oldest sister had shoved him over a cliff edge so that he might have his first flight, where he had tried to hide the sailors who survived the crashes, and the graveyard of those who did not survive. A small and strange world of which Enjolras seemingly had a story for every scuff in the ground.

All that was to say that Enjolras attempted to keep him present and had shared the intimacies of his childhood, but it was difficult to judge how much was out of genuine like and how much was in reaction to his loneliness and gratitude.


When the time finally came for Enjolras to join the crew, the ship was anchored off the coast, floating above the great graveyard below. Grantaire rowed a small boat to shore, where Enjolras stood, his favorite books and papers clutched in his arms. He looked uncharacteristically nervous.

“All aboard,” Grantaire greeted as the siren stepped over the edge of the boat. The night felt oddly formal, especially given that this was the first time he had ever come to Enjolras while fully clothed in human attire. He felt somewhat self-conscious about it, but Enjolras didn’t even seem to have notice, his eyes focused on the ship off the coast, jaw working against the gag already in his mouth.

As they rowed, Grantaire rambled and Enjolras heard nothing of it.

When they reached the ship, Grantaire tied the boat to the side and took Enjolras hand, pulling him onboard. The deck was empty, the crew was gathered in the main cabin.

"Ready?" he asked.

Enjolras gave him a panicked look, his wings giving a nervous flutter.

“Relax, they already love you,” Grantaire assured, reaching out to smooth the feathers on a wing which had gravitated a little too close.  

Enjolras took a deep breath, his expression steeling before he nodded and Grantaire opened the door.

"Hello, all, may I officially introduce Enjolras,” he said to the waiting crew.

“At last!” cried Bahorel. The excitement in the room was electric.

Enjolras was immediately swept up in introductions. Grantaire worried for the first few minutes that meeting everyone at once might have been the wrong choice, the siren seemed a bit overwhelmed, hovering close to Grantaire’s side as each crew member put a name to a face.

When Joly had been the last to introduce himself, Grantaire stole the books and papers from the siren’s hands, setting them aside. He then took out a blank sheet of paper and quill, placing the objects into Enjolras’ hand, pushing him into a seat at the table. Enjolras blinked at him in a daze.

“I know you have a million things to say,” Grantaire smiled, “so say them.”

Enjolras blinked again and began to write. ‘I apologize for my lack of eloquence, I find that I cannot express just how glad I am to meet every one of you.’

This caused an uproar. At that point he seemed to find his interpersonal skills, writing and answering questions and asking questions, his eyes gleaming with happiness.

"I have brought the wine to celebrate our new friendship!" Courfeyrac announced after near an hour, carrying an armful of wine bottles. Les Amis gave a cheer.

"Enjolras disapproves of wine." Grantaire said, grabbing a bottle and uncorking it before taking a swig. He did not see when the siren removed his gag, grabbed the bottle from Grantaire's hands and took a large gulp, simultaneously shoving the half merman into a chair.

"Oof," Grantaire grinned, "My god, will we see a drunk siren tonight? I've heard obscene stories of such things."

Enjolras shoved the seat of his chair with his foot and Grantaire toppled backward to a cheer from his friends.

"Traitors, every one of you!" Grantaire shouted, making no effort to stand.

And again, Enjolras was caught up in the crew, moving from person to person. Signing with his hands and writing frantically at his paper. Practice had served him well, he made not a sound.

Grantaire watched his every move and was fairly drunk by the time Enjolras drifted back to him, face slightly flushed with wine. He appeared with a tug to the front of Grantaire’s shirt, eyebrow raised.

"I'm not a mind reader, E,” Grantaire smiled.

‘You wear clothes like a human, I just noticed,’ he wrote.

He shrugged, "I'm told I look strange and indecent otherwise."

‘Now I feel exposed.’ He all but pouted, crossing his arms over his chest.

"Ah, but your skin is a prettier sight than mine," he teased, brushing the back of his index finger over Enjolras’ cheek, startling his disapproving expression.

"R, if you want to hang around naked, I fully support you,” Bahorel said, throwing an arm over his shoulder.

“You just want an excuse to do the same,” Grantaire scoffed, drawing his hand away from Enjolras’ face.

“I simply find clothes restrictive," Bahorel groused.

“Good God, you better keep your clothes on,” Eponine said harshly, slamming a glass against the table.

“Don’t tell me how to live my life!”

“To be nude is the natural state of man! If Bahorel wishes to go free, I say let him do so! Let us all-“ Feuilly stopped short as Bahorel’s shirt was thrown over his face.

“Now look what you’ve done!” Bossuet laughed, wrestling Bahorel to keep his pants on.

“Look at these mortals!” Grantaire nudged Enjolras, “See how they squabble over such petty things as clothes.”

“Says the fish in pants!” Bahorel protested, having given up on removing the rest of his clothes.

“You are just jealous I fill mine better!”

And again Enjolras fell into conversation. He spoke mostly with Combeferre whose correspondence before had been the longest. He went on communicating until his eye lids sagged with sleep.

"Grantaire, show Enjolras to his bed," Combeferre instructed after Enjolras had stumbled over a chair, nearly knocking Joly off his feet with the brush of a wing.

"This way, oh sleepy angel," Grantaire pulled him out the door and into the dark. The entrance below deck was beside the interior entrance. They stopped for a moment, Grantaire looking out to the island, dimly lit in the moonlight.

“The time has come for your final goodbye,” he said, placing a hand on Enjolras shoulder, “We set out tonight, it will not be there in the morning, or you will not at least.”

Enjolras nodded tiredly, giving the island one final look before turning his face away.

Grantaire guided him below deck. Enjolras was being gifted with the only room to himself. It was a small storage room, only big enough for little more than a mattress but he had to be isolated in case he made sounds in his sleep.

As soon as they door was shut behind them, Grantaire was engulfed in feathers. Enjolras was cooing softly.

Grantaire pulled free the gag so that he might speak.

"Thank you," he whispered so quietly Grantaire could hardly hear. It was still a worry how far his voice would carry, but there was no scuffle above them, so apparently not so far through the wood of the ship.

"No worries. They like you very much."

"And I like them. This is more than I could have ever hoped for."

"I am glad to see you so happy."

"You have made me so."

"I did what anyone else would have."

"You did not.”

“I did what was morally right, then.”

“You did more than I could have wished and I love you for it,” his smile was wide and easy.

"Hush with such nonsense, you are tired from all this excitement. Look at you, feathers all ruffled." He pulled a feather out of his own hair and moved Enjolras toward the bed. The siren followed easily enough and allowed himself to be pushed onto the mattress, but he caught Grantaire by the sleeve when he turned to leave.

"Stay," he whispered, eyes dark and charming.

"Now that will start undue rumors," Grantaire warned with a laugh.

"I don't care," Enjolras leaned up to whisper in his ear, arms wrapped around his shoulders. "I want you at my side."

Grantaire felt his heart give a jolt and he ducked away. "Not tonight, I have the pleasure of directing the ship through the first part of the night." Enjolras still had his sleeve and he did not break his hold.

Enjolras would not be swayed. "Then return when you have finished."

"Another time." Best let his enthusiasm settle. He was grateful now, but that would not hold. “Goodnight, Enjolras.”

“Goodnight,” Enjolras said, already half asleep.

And he fled the room to his waiting friends.

"Does he like us?" Bossuet asked.

"I've never seen him so happy. I wish that he could speak to you, he talks with such fervor."

"I don’t think we've ever seen you so besotted,” Courfeyrac said, “R. You did not say you adored him so."

"Hush! How could I help it? He's spectacular. Don’t tell him I said so. I am off to start our voyage, to where are we headed?"

“West for now, we can make a more solid choice at sun up.”


Living aboard the ship was hard work, but Grantaire felt at last he had a purpose. Every morning he would get up and catch fish. Each person took turns captaining the ship, with Bossuet looking over their shoulder. Four weeks in and no one had yet killed the others. They stopped whenever they came upon the shore for supplies, but for the most part they remained at sea, drifting west toward adventure.

Enjolras was thriving. After his initial trepidation had subsided, he made a point to make up for the time among others he had missed. In the first week, he easily found a place among them. His one struggle was that he could not directly speak to them, Grantaire could see in his eyes that it killed him and he was very careful not to laugh or coo in their presence. Thus far he had yet to slip.

He did spend a good deal of time translating conversations with birds both for amusement and for practical purposes. A few birds had followed the boat away from the island, one friendly and two foe. Those friendly birds became rather like pets, setting out ahead to oversee the ocean ahead, Eponine made it a mission to shoot down those unfriendly birds with a slingshot.

 

In the first port they reached, Bahorel had taken his measurements and brought back a set of human clothes. Enjolras was delighted, though he mourned for the fabrics when the backs of his shirt and waistcoat were cut to make windows for his wings.

“Look at us civilized monsters,” Grantaire had said as Enjolras had shown off his new attire. “Who wares humanity better, Bahorel?” he asked and immediately answered his own question when the human opened his mouth. “Hush, spare my feelings! What is a minnow to a swan?”

‘Dinner?’ Enjolras signed, one eyebrow raised.

“I doubt I would taste very good. No doubt, my bitterness has corrupted my meat.”

“I’d still give you a taste,” Bahorel consoled him, “And I’d eat every scrap to preserve your memory.”

“Thank you, Bahorel, you were always my favorite.”

Combeferre had quickly become Enjolras’ favorite, his best friend, and Courfeyrac his second best. The three of them spent hours in the evening speaking of plans and treasure and seeing the world.

Each night the crew would end the day by communing in the dining hall and discussing the course their adventure was taking.

Enjolras would gravitate toward Grantaire at some point in the evening and they would argue back and forth about whatever the three friends had been planning on that day, Enjolras writing frantically until he could stand it no longer and would tear off the gag, taking Grantaire by the face and pressing against him to whisper his arguments directly into his ear. It was Grantaire’s favorite form of torture and rather often he would wind him up on purpose. At the end of the night, every night, Enjolras would lean close to him and ask him to bed and every night Grantaire would smile and push him off in the direction of his room, turning him away. 

"He is glad for what I have done, nothing more," Grantaire told Jehan in frustration.

"I do not think Enjolras is so blind,” they scoffed, “I think he sees your heart and values what is there. Perhaps he thinks you are a good man.”

“I am only half a man, and good is not an appropriate descriptor.”

“Grantaire-“

“No, I will speak of it no more.” And he did not.


After five week’s of pleasant travel they happened upon their first major obstacle: a pod of merfolk.

It was early evening and Grantaire had gone to bed after having entered a friendly wrestling match with a shark as part of a bet with Eponine, a bet which he had won. He was awoken by Enjolras frantically shaking him.

"What's going on?" he blinked.

Enjolras had already removed his gag. "Merfolk," he whispered, tugging him out of bed and up onto the deck. The sound of a mermaid’s shimmering voice drifted up from the water, clear and calm. Those crewmember on the deck were standing transfixed and unmoving as the mermaid called out to only one.

There was a splash and Grantaire saw Bossuet tumble over the side of the ship. Grantaire threw himself down after him. The mermaid was dragging the human down, down, down. Grantaire jabbed her with his cane and she let him go out of shock. Moving quickly, Grantaire pulled Bossuet back to the surface and handed him off to Enjolras along with his cane before diving back down.

There were four in the pod, three females and a male, two armed with spears. Grantaire did not know any of them.

"A half breed," the eldest mermaid scoffed, she was the obvious leader, "Traveling on a human ship. Have they taken you as a pet?"

"They are my friends and I do not appreciate your trying to drown them,” Grantaire said carefully.

Her lip drew back in distain. "We have a right to them. The sirens take all the humans in this area. We get nothing. Not a single human in a month."

"There are sirens here?"

"They dwell on an island to the south, but they circle about this region."

"I am sorry for your troubles, but I ask that you let us pass. We mean no slight against you."

"The ship carries a siren also!" Another mermaid appeared above them.

"What a strange party!” the leader said, “Give us the siren and we shall let your humans pass without trouble."

"He is not mine to give to you. He travels with us as an equal. What would you want with him?"

"Leverage over the island."

"He was abandoned, they would not want him."

"Pity. Then we would like him drowned."

Grantaire shook his head. "You must know that I cannot allow that."

"That is unfortunate, we will have him anyway." She aimed her spear at him, jabbing it forward. He swam aside but the sharp edge cut into the skin just below his eye. An instant later, the merman grabbed his ankle and started to drag him deeper as the others swam upward. He jabbed and kicked his way free, bolting upward, not fast enough, he was struck in the side by another thrust of a spear. He wrestled the weapon from the merman’s hands and warned him off as he swam to the other side of the boat from which he had come, scrambling up the side. There were now three voices calling, they were trying to pull in the entire crew.

Grantaire reached the deck in an expanding pool of sea water and blood. Enjolras was holding back Bossuet and pressing the cabin door, he seemed to have forced everyone else inside before the singing had started.

The half-human grabbed Bossuet and turned to Enjolras. "I need you to go yell at them until they leave, or else they'll tear the ship apart."

Enjolras nodded before helping Grantaire shove his way into the cabin, pulling Bossuet with him. Grantaire pressed his back against the door as Enjolras began to sing. In the instant he started, the crew went wild. Grantaire had seen the state a thousand times in guiding ships form The Singing Island but never before had it so chilled him. They had lost their minds, scrambling for the door they threw themselves at Grantaire who for a moment the sound had given pause. He had never before heard Enjolras sing; it was painfully beautiful. He selfishly wished he could hear it without the threat of his friends clawing at his face as they did now. Luckily the singing did not last long, though it seemed an eternity before it ended.

When the sound stopped, the crew came back to themselves.

"R, you're bleeding!" Joly was the first to gasp.

"Hang on, let us be sure they haven't drowned Enjolras." Grantaire slipped out the door, his eye drawn to the place where Enjolras was glaring over the edge, into the water.

"Are they gone?"

The siren nodded, eyes unmoving. He seemed upset, perhaps the pod had said something to him.

"They said there are sirens in the area, living on an island to the south. I don’t think we should stay to meet them."

At that Enjolras looked up at him, moving closer to wipe the blood from his face before taking his hand and guiding him back into the cabin where Joly fretted over him, stitching the injuries back together and by that time it was very dark.

The crew was mortified at having attacked Grantaire, he could feel everyone watching him. As usual, everyone stayed up into the night, the topic of conversation was Enjolras’ voice, a topic Grantaire would ordinarily love to talk about but instead he left early to watch the water. Not a few minutes later, he was followed. He could hear the cadence of Enjolras’ step before the siren pressed against his back.

"They said cruel things about you," he whispered, hands on Grantaire’s shoulders, thumbs brushing with a soothing rhythm, warm cheek against the side of his neck, breathing over his gills.

Grantaire did not move away, but did not lean into the touch. "That is to be expected. I am an abomination,” he said loftily.

He felt Enjolras frown as his lips pressed against his ear. "You shouldn't say such things."

"I say them only because they are true."

"They are not." His tone shifted toward the combative, he took on a similar note when he was particularly invested in demonstrating how right he was.

Grantaire sighed, “Then let us agree to disagree. I am too tired to argue." He pulled away by degree, but Enjolras slid his arms around his waist, leaning his forehead against Grantaire’s shoulder, stilling him. After a long moment Grantaire shifted, turned to face him.

It was dark but Enjolras expression was earnest, no trace of pity, only soft frustration as his eyes searched Grantaire’s face for something. Grantaire was unsure if he found it, but waited as Enjolras lifted a hand to his face, his thumb brushing the rough scales overtaking his cheek. Grantaire finally dipped into the touch, mostly out of desire to avoid the siren’s gaze, but Enjolras tilted his face upward again.  

He leaned forward. "Come to bed with me," he whispered against his ear before pulling back to read Grantaire’s face. Another brush of his thumb. The words were familiar, said every night, but never like this, never looking him in the face. Never being quite so clear about it.

Grantaire hesitated, his conscience making him waver, but he could not find it in himself to turn away when Enjolras was asking so directly. "Okay,” he breathed, as though it was his voice they had to be wary of.

At his word, Enjolras expression shifted. Similar shifts had occurred before: when he was collecting materials to build his nest; when he watched fish swim just below the surface of the water, just before diving for them; when he stood on the edge of some height, clearly considering jumping. His consent must have triggered some deep instinct. "I need the blankets from your bed,” he said a little louder than was perhaps wise.

Grantaire took the hand resting against his cheek and kissed his palm. “Hush,” he said, still whispering, “I will get them for you.”

Enjolras whined in frustration and pressed their foreheads together. Grantaire hushed him again, ducking out of his hold, pulling them toward the cabins. Grantaire pushed Enjolras into the direction of his own room before grabbing his blankets. He was unsure if anyone else was in to noticed him, his mind had gone foggy.

When he reached Enjolras’ room, he was pulled over the threshold, the door falling shut behind him. Enjolras was staring at him with unfocused eyes, a soft cooing starting in his chest. Grantaire pressed the blankets into his arms and they were tucked into his nest, which was larger than those he had seen on the island. When he had finished arranging the nest, he turned back to Grantaire, who was shifting nervously. Enjolras watched him carefully as he began unbuttoning his own shirt. The implication was clearly that Grantaire should do the same but he found himself frozen. When Enjolras had removed his human clothes, he put on his old colorful fabric before turning to Grantaire and pulling his shirt over his head.

The human clothes removed, Enjolras took his hand and pulled him down into the nest which was conspicuously the perfect size for the two of them. Enjolras tucking his head against his chest and folded a wing over his shoulder, enveloping him in warmth. Grantaire found that his hands were acting on their own as he reached down to pull the ribbon holding back Enjolras’ hair, fingers tangling in his curls.  

"This is where you belong," Enjolras whispered, face tilting up to speak against his throat.

"Is it?" Grantaire asked, fingers combing through his corn silk hair, then tracing a line down his neck with the lightest of touches.

Enjolras clutched him still tighter. "If it is not, then you may leave."

Grantaire lowered his face to kiss his forehead. "I will stay. I love you far too much to leave now."

Enjolras appeared unsurprised, looking up to meet his eyes. His gaze had gained back some clarity and was now curious. "Then why resist?"

Grantaire’s eyes drifted skyward. "I assumed once you spent some time around others you would think of me less and I could not bear to live with having been cast aside like that."

This answer seemed to startle the siren, he sat partly up, leaning on his elbow. "Why would I cast you aside?"

"Because I am a monstrosity and you are the nearest thing to an angel.”

"In appearance only,” Enjolras grimaced, “I am more a monster than you,” he shook his head. “But above that, you speak in absurdity."

"I speak truth," Grantaire protested.

"It is anything but truth,” his expression twisted into his most stubborn of scowls, “Tell me when you think these things so I might tell you how wrong you are." He leaned over and kissed him softly on the mouth. Grantaire could not find the will for anything more than pressing his hands to Enjolras’ face and brushing his thumbs against his cheekbones as their lips moved together.

"I think them constantly," Grantaire whispered when they parted, finding himself unable to lie after such action.

Enjolras brushed a thumb over his bottom lip, eyes tracing his ill formed face before pressing a kiss to his forehead. "Then let your mind rest for this moment at least. Let yourself be content as I am content. I love you very much."

"But-"

"But nothing.” He kissed Grantaire’s cheek. “I assure you, I have grown to love you even more as our time as gone on. And besides that, it does not do to question a good thing unnecessarily. One must accept these little blessings as they come.” He pressed their lips together again.

“And you are a blessing onto me?” Grantaire smiled into the kiss.

“Perhaps or perhaps not. You are certainly a blessing onto me. I think I shall make it a mission of mine to make you see that.”

“Oh? And how do you plan to accomplish such a task?”

 “In whatever way I can. For now, sleep with me.” He kissed him one last time before reaching for his gag. Grantaire tied the fabric at the back of his head before Enjolras wrapped his arms around his waist and pulled them together at the chest. Grantaire fell asleep to the soft sounds of cooing as he brushed Enjolras’ hair.


At day break, Grantaire made to get up so that he could catch breakfast. Enjolras tried to prevent his leaving, catching his arm as he stood. The half-human leaned down to kiss his cheek and the siren pulled him back to kiss his lips, forgetting the gag. Enjolras eyes went wide as Grantaire softly bit his bottom lip.

"I must go prepare for the day."

Enjolras pulled the gag free. "I will go with you."

"No, sleep."

Enjolras kissed him again, properly this time. "Do not let your mind turn you in circles."

"I'll do my best.”


Three large fish caught and gutted for breakfast, Grantaire made his way to the cabin where Jehan was preparing to cook. "Your bedding was gone this morning,” they noted, eyebrow raised.

Grantaire smiled. "I caved to the wishes of our fine feathered friend."

"Oh my, I'm sure he was pleased with that."

"So it would seem."

“I’m glad. You really wind him up.”

“I do so with pleasure.”

When Enjolras joined them for breakfast, he did so in a spectacularly good mood, meeting Grantaire’s gaze with a smile in his eyes.

The morning meeting proceeded as usual until a soft sound startled the talk.

“What is that?” Combeferre asked in shock, looking to Enjolras, the source of the noise.

“He’s cooing,” Grantaire smiled.

“That is adorable, he sounds like a dove,” Courfeyrac grinned.

“You can hear it clearly?” Grantaire asked at the prompting of an excited look from Enjolras.

“Yes, perhaps because the sound is not made with his mouth…” Jehan said thoughtfully.

The volume of the cooing rose to the delight of all.

“Hush, little bird,” Grantaire teased as Enjolras tucked his face into his shoulder out of embarrassment, though the cooing continued.

From then on it became playful habit among Les Amis to make mock cooing noises to express their happiness. For a time, Grantaire made a point of doing it every instance Enjolras entered the room, just to be irritating. It was a estimate of how much Enjolras must love him that he was only shoved overboard once in retaliation.