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"You require," Enjolras began, and paused. His customarily clear, harsh voice was incapable of cracking, but if it could have, it would have. "It's not enough to have carnal knowledge of me, you must humiliate me as well?"

"As well?" Grantaire laughed bitterly. "Isn't that alone – Don't tell me the thought of letting me touch you isn't humiliation enough?"

"I said I would allow it."

"As the royalist permitted himself to be led to the guillotine: yes."

"The bargain was agreed. You did your part."

-

Enjolras had come to him in his lodging, four flights of stairs up a meagre tenement on the Left Bank. His features had been composed so stiffly they might have been a mask, clearly hating the part of importuner to Grantaire's importuned.

Grantaire, in turn, had hated how obviously it galled Enjolras to come to him for a favour, and he'd been the better part of the way through his fourth bottle, so his resentment had expressed itself too freely; oh, he'd said, in answer to Enjolras's too-formal, too-proper inquiry. Yes, I might know where such are to be found; you're correct. I am indeed widely acquainted with many people in many corners, and some of them you'd not sully your own white hands with. I might be persuaded to inquire; I might arrange a shipment of such weapons. I might let you use me as your instrument, the tongs with which you hold those of less virtue and less pure politics at arms-breadth. A pause. Only might. You want to use me as your middleman – your procurer. They take a cut, Enjolras: they require a tithe.

He'd never expected Enjolras to agree to his insulting terms. Or, agreeing, keep them. It was a vulgar, grotesque jest, a deliberate slap of a beloved cheek merely to see it colour, designed to draw blood for blood. As if Grantaire would or could ever extort a thing from Enjolras. As if everything in his power or possession wasn't Enjolras's to spend and command, saving only those intangibles of belief and soul that one man had no right to ask of another. They hadn't spoken of it again, and Enjolras had treated him with his usual distant pity and occasional harshness, ignoring the sally as Grantaire had hoped, the next morning, it would be ignored: as an impertinent obscenity, a vulgar joke with no true humour.

Only the arms had come, and come to Grantaire's rooms, followed shortly by Enjolras, almost as quickly as Grantaire's message had reached him. He'd knelt by Grantaire's side and gone through the crate, his fine hands examining each pistol, checking mechanisms and testing firing-pins, counting under his breath.

And then he'd risen to his feet, turned, and begun to unbutton his waistcoat with equal methodical care, his lovely face hard as stone and his curling hair brilliant against the black cloth in the candlelight.

"What are you doing?" Grantaire had demanded, when he could find his tongue, and Enjolras had shrugged, let the waistcoat drop, and begun on his shirt buttons.

"Your price. Didn't we agree?"

"I," Grantaire had begun, and stopped still at the sight of Enjolras's bare throat and chest, rising and falling with his breath. It had mesmerised him. I did not meant it died unspoken.

Astonishment touched him, and then on its heels had come shame, and then anger, that Enjolras had thought he had. That was what Enjolras thought of him! That he would prostitute his love – no, his lust – that he could be so coarse, and vulgar, and base – Perhaps he could, but not when it came to Enjolras. Enjolras woke what was best and finest and half-forgotten in him –

Enjolras was standing in his rooms, loosening his shirt cuffs, and looking like Daniel in the lion's den. Fierce, and beautiful, determined to go to his fate without flinching. And looking at him with his usual distant regard, mixed with considerable contempt.

Yes, he’d thought Grantaire capable of exacting his price in flesh, if unprompted by republican fervour, since surely he couldn't be motivated by friendship or loyalty alone – That was how Enjolras had judged him.

"And now your trousers," Grantaire had said, his own voice harsh. "If you've come to play cocotte, there's no need to play coy.”

"Very well." Enjolras let the shirt drop and knelt to remove his boots. A play for time, Grantaire thought, waiting to call his bluff – but then he'd straightened and put his hand to his waistband.

Grantaire had dreamed about something similar for so long that the actuality closed his throat and made him stare, too long and too obviously.

Enjolras dropped his own eyes, but not before Grantaire had seen the scorn in them, and opened his trousers. They'd fallen around his ankles. He should have looked ridiculous. He should have blushed for shame, or shyness, like the Enjolras of Grantaire's fondest dreams did, before he asked Grantaire if he pleased him, and allowed him to demonstrate that he did –

The flesh-and-blood Enjolras standing there before him, real as the fingernail-marks in Grantaire's palms, didn't blush. His pale body was as pure and supple as modelled wax. He was Adam in the first Garden, utterly unashamed. He'd held his head high, and crossed his arms over his bare breast, and looked at Grantaire like he was the mud under his boots for wanting him.

And Grantaire wanted him, and knew it was written on his face in crimson and gold for Enjolras to read and despise, and his mingled lust and resentment and pain made him give rough answer to that silent challenge. "You strip like a whore," he'd said. "Well, almost. In the better brothels, they do it with more art, and less brusqueness. A little practice, and you'll improve. They touch themselves as part of the act, squeeze their nipples and finger their split-tails. You could touch your prick."

"I could," Enjolras had said, still unblushing. His mouth curled with contempt. "I won't. You plan to do that for me, don't you?"

"Come here," Grantaire said, and Enjolras had come. And stood, still and obedient and cold as a statue as Grantaire took his cock in hand for him, and stayed untouched and uncaring even as it responded, the warm silky length of it thickening and filling Grantaire's palm, slowly blushing as Enjolras himself refused to do.

A bead of moisture pearled at the tip, and gleamed there like ichor.

Grantaire had hated himself for pushing to see where Enjolras would at last draw the line, and hated Enjolras for not balking or drawing back, and hated himself again for being so worthless and wanting him so badly, for being incapable of doing otherwise than dropping to his knees and licking that drop away with his tongue.

That had drawn a reaction: a deeper breath than previously, inhaled through the nose and slightly shaking. Then Enjolras had breathed out, calming, and clearly turned himself to marble again, waiting for whatever Grantaire planned to do with his mouth.

Enjolras was a prostitute when it came to his cause, it seemed. Willing to wager what he didn't care for – his body – for what he did: the republic. That should have made Grantaire contemptuous in turn. Instead he'd only burned brighter with hate and hurt and lovesick need as they played out this mangled and twisted version of a dear and cherished fantasy that he'd always known was only that, sweet and impossible. Enjolras's cock full in his mouth, thick and sweet, sweet, but gall and wormwood too. He'd wanted this, dreamed of it, of Enjolras's hands eager and fond in his hair, and now Enjolras knew it, and despised him for it, and had forced it on him – forced him to force it on him – all the same.

"Whore," he'd sneered, and let Enjolras's cock fall out of his mouth.

Enjolras had made a small sound of loss. He wasn't so much a martyr that he didn't enjoy being sucked. That should have pleased Grantaire, but it'd only increased his choking frustration and recoiling hurt love. He'd drawn away and flung himself upright, turning to the armoire.

"You forget yourself," Enjolras said, only slightly breathier than usual. "You may address your usual partners that way, but not me."

"My usual whores are at least honest," Grantaire sneered back. "They fuck to live, for bread and beer and fun. What do you fuck for? France. A dream? A mirage. For blood and bodies and a change that won't happen. You can change the man on the top, but the whore on the bottom still keeps getting screwed just the same. Don't give yourself airs here. This isn't a noble sacrifice, it's selling yourself for a box of guns."

"No; for what those guns can bring."

"A distinction without a difference, same as the one between you and my usual partners." He'd found what he was looking for and flung it at Enjolras. "Put that on, it'll help you remember what you're doing here."

Enjolras had looked down at the set of stays in his hands with a blank incomprehension Grantaire might have found charming if he hadn't been so beside himself. As it was, he was glad to see it, glad to touch him, to break through the ice and stone. "You require – It's not enough to have carnal knowledge of me, you must humiliate me as well?"

"As well?" Grantaire had laughed bitterly. "Isn't that alone–? Don't tell me the thought of letting me touch you isn't humiliation enough– "

"I said I would allow it."

"As the royalist permitted himself to be led to the guillotine: yes."

"The bargain was agreed. You did your part." A look of distaste; Enjolras felt something, he was touched, he was brought down. "Very well."

-

Enjolras clearly loathed the stays. He put his arms through the puffed sleeves, and set his jaw. He smoothed the line of the bodice down, frowned at the empty pockets intended for the swell of breasts, incongruous on his flat chest, and turned. "Lace me," he said.

"Christ," Grantaire said thickly. He'd never gotten a cockstand over boys in girl's undergarments, but Enjolras in an old corset left by a former mistress, with furious redness standing in his cheeks and his thighs bare and sparely muscled, his shoulders too square for sleeves meant to curl demurely around a sweetly rounded arm, prick bobbing – he was something else, Achilles hiding in the women's quarters and itching for a sword.

He came around Enjolras's side and began pulling on the worn laces. Slowly, the sides of the stays came together, gapping around the breadth of Enjolras's chest. A long slice of his pale back showed under the criss-crossing laces. His waist came in abruptly under the ribs.

His hair was cut severely short and curled around his ears and at the back of his neck. Grantaire stared at his nape as he fastened the stays, and when he had them knotted them in place, lost control of himself enough to lean in and press his lips just under a fair curl.

Enjolras started forward – or tried to. Grantaire's hands on his laces kept him leashed in place. "You do forget yourself. I'm not a woman."

"No?" Grantaire let him go, and ran his eyes mockingly up and down his body when Enjolras turned to face him. "No, the toilette's not complete. You need rouge. A little colour – red like your cock."

"If you put rouge on me," Enjolras said, "I'll knock you out."

"But you let me put you in corsets without a blow?"

Enjolras's eyes ran over him in turn, boots to brow. Grantaire had forgotten he was still entirely clad, but it made no difference: his arousal was obvious through his clothes. "I don't pretend to know what appetites you harbour," he said. "I won't cavil at meeting a small part of them in fulfilment of my word."

"Accommodating of you," Grantaire said. "What else will you accommodate, I wonder? I don't possess a small part."

The corner of Enjolras's mouth dented slightly, then firmed into a straight line like it could deny that brief flicker of amusement. "No, that you advertise in clear view."

"Thank you," Grantaire answered, and pulled at his flies. "Get on the bed," he added, which was nothing like what he said to Enjolras in any of his fonder dreams, mezzotinted in soft golden and pink light; there he spoke sweetly, and was charming, and their embraces led them naturally thence.

Enjolras sat with equal exactitude on the bed, straight-backed in the corset, and folded his arms over his breast again, a masculine gesture that belied the stays and lace. In the candlelight, the fine hair on his long calves glinted gold. His face was cold and expressionless, and his cock had gone half-soft. Grantaire stooped to kiss him when he drew near, and caught a mouthful of hair instead when Enjolras turned his head.

"No? You'll take my prick up your hole, but not my tongue in your mouth?"

"You haven't done the first yet, and I didn't agree to the second."

"A true whore; nothing comes free. What would you do for your own cannon? Suck me under the table in the Café Musain? Moan like a prostitute and fuck yourself in my lap for a carronade?"

"Is that what you think about?"

“Shut your mouth; spread your legs.”

Enjolras did, too obediently. That was the moment when Grantaire should say that the guns were a gift; that Enjolras owned him, body and soul, and if he asked something, Grantaire would do it, with no dream of payment. That Enjolras's pleasure – the smallest fraction of his regard – was enough. To take his hand and not be wholly despised; to sit a little nearer at meetings of the Société to his brightness, like a man wishing to warm himself beside a fire.

Instead, he took up the oil-and-wick taper standing on the table by his bed, unlit and only used when he wanted light to see what he did in it. It was spermaceti, fine and slippery, and slightly pungent. "Gun oil would be more fitting, but less practical," he remarked, dipping his fingers in the liquid, and Enjolras narrowed his eyes at him.

"What do you mean to do with that?"

"You don't know?"

"I'm not practiced in this."

"You surprise me," Grantaire said, and watched Enjolras's eyes fall with some pleasure. "This is to make everything easy; wet and slick. Draw your knees up a little more."

He rubbed his knuckles in acquaintance against the inside of Enjolras's thigh, then cupped his balls gently out of the way. With his other hand, he rubbed with oiled fingers at the portal tightly shut against him, in gentle circles, and tried not to gibber at his own trespass.

Enjolras drew in his breath a little. The empty bodice cups rose and fell with his breathing. Grantaire took his fingers away, oiled them again, and returned. Gentle, gentle. Deeper. This was too much like a lovemaking. He wanted to make love to Enjolras, to kiss his mouth and his brow and his throat and his belly. He wanted to suck Enjolras's cock until he came in hot salty pulses. He wanted his own cock inside him and Enjolras's legs around his waist, heels eager in his back.

Enjolras made a sharp sound when Grantaire roughly thrust a finger inside him. For the first time, his hands clenched, and his muscles stiffened. "That's uncomfortable."

"A little discomfort now is to spare more later."

"Is that what you're doing? A – preparation?"

"What did you think?"

"I thought," Enjolras said, and jerked his chin at the stays. "Another reminder of the terms of the transaction."

Grantaire bit his lip on an apology he wouldn’t make. "No. Is that still uncomfortable?"

"It's easier now."

He withdrew, oiled his fingers again, and returned. This time it was easier: he was kinder, and Enjolras more ready, and after a few moments, he essayed a second. Enjolras made a small sound, but didn't speak. He parted his thighs further to allow Grantaire more room. It would be easier still if he was on hands and knees, but Grantaire had wanted to see his face.

A stupid thought. Enjolras's face was almost inscrutable, reaction betrayed only by small involuntary movements of mouth and eyelids. Grantaire watched him as closely as a lover, but felt instead a hunter of some fleet and elusive prey. "Turn over," he said, and slapped Enjolras's flank to reproach himself for his foolishness.

Every part of Enjolras was beautiful. His back was a poem bound up in soiled ribbons and framed in whalebone, his buttocks a psalm in the Solomonic line. They tensed and bunched when Grantaire breached him again, and then relaxed.

"Oh," Enjolras said, a new note in his voice. "That feels –" He cut himself short. "It's less uncomfortable this way."

"Mm," Grantaire said, trying one angle, then another, and watched Enjolras's back flex within its bindings. A third. Enjolras’s insides were hot silk and smooth muscle, warm and private, and constricted in pulses around Grantaire’s fingers when he turned them back and forth. Grantaire tried to imagine what his face was doing against the pillow. "Comfortable?"

"Yes."

Grantaire circumnavigated Enjolras's hip with his other hand, down the flat of his belly, and sought for his cock. "I see it is," he said when he had it hard and eager in the cradle of his palm, giving Enjolras's claims of tolerable discomfort the lie. "You can endure this? Are you closing your eyes and thinking of France?"

"Of guns.”

“What an excellent little whore you are.”

Enjolras’s spine stiffened through his stays at the mocking tone. "Do it, then."

"For guns," Grantaire said softly. "For France?"

Silence. It drew on. Enjolras's face remained averted. Without seeing it, Grantaire knew the full red mouth was set in that stern line which would permit no softening or bending.

"Ah," he said at last, disappointment making his speech violent. "A liar even to yourself. I like my sluts honest. And my – transactions – fair."

That drew a reaction.

"It’s fair," Enjolras said. "You pay your sluts in louis d'or–"

"Sous," Grantaire corrected. "You've let L'Aigle raise false expectations – or do you think I have to pay my whores extortionately to bring them to my bed? Sometimes, perhaps, but not in gold coin: and some of them even come for nothing but love, and my tongue. Certainly not for my face; but in the dark, what is ugliness, even mine? A delusion. Then, at least, I'm equal to any man – and better."

"I have no knowledge of the bartered cost of virtue."

"Au contraire. You set it at the price of a crate of fire-arms: and my honour."

"Honour," Enjolras said, closing his legs. "You?"

"Virtue," Grantaire snarled back in the same tone, the you? unspoken. "There's virtue in truth; I'll grant you that you lie better than most filles de joie - they pretend pleasure they don't feel – but you pretend not to feel pleasure you do, and that – Tell me, Enjolras, this deal. Would you have made it with anyone who could procure your armaments for you? Would you lie down in the gutter and spread your arse-cheeks for whatever crook scuttled out of the sewers and could make that trade? You wouldn't even deal directly with them. A stranger of politics and principles that agreed with yours? Would you deal with them thus?"

"No," Enjolras said. He rolled back onto his back and sat up. The stays creaked. "Is there any further humiliation you wish to visit upon me, or have you gone your length?"

"I thought about making you beg for my cock before I gave it to you," Grantaire said, but anger and tension had left him with that clipped admission, with a painful hiss like air from a punctured lung. "But I lacked the stomach to see this scene through to the end. You may add a yellow belly to the ledger of my faults."

"It was already written. I should dress.”

"I don't commonly let my sluts leave my bed unsatisfied." Enjolras flinched at last, but Grantaire was no de Sade, to delight long in hurting where he loved. He had no taste for hurting Enjolras, only for worshipping him, and he'd taken too many shafts himself. He could set himself up as Saint Sebastian on the strength of them, and the particular barb lodged somewhere under his ribs, the one that had settled there when he realised that Enjolras would rather turn his own desire back upon him and make him wield it as a weapon than admit an answering one himself. "- Or my lovers. It's a poor treatment; it discourages further stagings, and ruins the name of the playwright, and makes his name a hissing."

"I don't care for my costume."

"I don't care for the play. Rodomontade, yes; farce, no. It cuts too close."

A pause. "I misunderstood."

Grantaire looked at him. In this light, Enjolras's hair was silver-gilt and his skin apricot. Beautiful and cold, a banqueting God lounging in his own sordid bed. "Pardon?"

"I was aware of how you regarded me. I was unaware it went beyond the flesh."

"Of course not! Grantaire the drunkard, Grantaire the mountebank, Grantaire the libertine, the winecask, the gossip, the ranter, the fool - I have no deeper feelings. How could I? The fibres of my being are too coarse; mine is not a soul bent on enlightenment; I don't care for country or common weal; nothing but myself, my glass, my cock!”

"One could be forgiven for taking you at your own word," Enjolras said. Then, "I wanted you." His eyelids lowered: not in modesty, but to separate himself from what he said even as he offered a true exchange, kind for kind. "And the guns: but the manner of payment was not unpleasant to me."

"Thank you," Grantaire said bitterly. "That I guessed, and proved to myself, but I still have no taste for the part you cast me in. A Tarquin – a Turk."

Enjolras put one leg over the side of the bed, and drew himself to the edge. Excess oil gleamed on the silky inside of his thigh, and Grantaire still wanted him. Helplessly. It wasn't enough to watch a little lustre flake away from the gilded idol he'd set up; he couldn't rise above his own base nature.

"I wanted this," Enjolras said. "Without shame. Without –" He frowned. "Without taking that shame upon myself. I didn't think you acknowledged that sentiment; I didn't imagine you would mind taking both shares, in return for what you wanted from me." The frown deepened. "I hadn't put it so clearly to myself. I thought, the guns – "

"A silver-chased pistol pair is a pretty thing, but not something to rouse the flesh with such a frisson as the thought of submitting to my viler desires clearly gave you. It's a pity you despise me so cordially," Grantaire said, "because I would have given you whatever you wanted, guns and body, for the asking.”

"Would you?"

A pause of his own. "There's nothing I have you don't despise. I can't swear an oath to a secular faith I have no confidence in. No. But don't leave my bed unsatisfied, Enjolras. You came to me, and you can have what you came for. If you ask for it."

"I thought you were done punishing me with humiliation," Enjolras said. He got to his feet. He was beautiful in motion, and the glance Grantaire sent after him was less purely one of aesthetic admiration than it might in other circumstances have been, however anguished.

As he watched, Enjolras took up his discarded coat from the floor. A knife flashed, and then he turned it on himself, sawing at the laces of the corset. The knotted stay-laces groaned, and parted: the whalebone sides collapsed, and the natural shape of his chest burst free, heaving slightly from the effort. With disgust, he dropped the ruined thing to the floor, and spurned it with his foot.

"Venus from the shell!” Grantaire said, but a sharp look made him check, and correct himself. "Achilles casting off his chiton; that's more fitting. I shouldn't have put you in it, except to grind your face in the insult as you were grinding mine. You look far better out of it."

"Thank you," Enjolras said, and stood there contrapposto, one knee bent a little. His genitals were cradled between the long lines of his pale thighs, a natural conclusion to the flat belly and tapering lines of his hipbones. He was so beautiful it hurt, and the knife in his hand, equally naked, flashed silver again.

“Put that down. It ruins the picture. What you need is a sword.”

“What I need,” Enjolras said. He tilted his head, and Grantaire took his cue.

“Come here, warrior-prince; let the knife seek the sheath. Avec ma bite et mon couteau – forgive me, yours – I’ll puzzle something out.”

“Rodomontade,” Enjolras observed, but set down the knife. Then he came, unhurried, back to the bed. “Take your boots off. I won’t go to bed with a man still in his shoes.”

“But a man in sabots –”

“Nor trousers.”

“I had a good line to do with sabots and sabotage,” Grantaire complained, stripping out of them, “and also the sabot-stoppage in a pistol–”

“Stop your mouth instead, and attend to your undress,” Enjolras said. “I don’t want banter, and I don’t want art. I won’t ask you to stop to fondle your nipples.”

“Did I ask that of you? I believe I said, cock – ”

“Grantaire.”

“Ah,” Grantaire said, when he was as nude as requested, standing. “You’re economical with your encomiums; I mean to make you sing a paean before I’m done.”

“You may try,” Enjolras said, and Grantaire muscled between his thighs and held them open, burying his nose in the coarse blond curls above his cock and inhaling deeply. “Grantaire -”

“I know,” Grantaire murmured against his hip. “You want my cock in you; but I want to suck you until you come.”

This time, he took his time about the act, glorying in the scent and taste and texture of it, making love as he’d wanted to earlier, and was as slow and gentle about it as he could be.

“Grantaire,” Enjolras gasped, when Grantaire had barely begun his work. His legs tensed, straining against the hands holding them apart. “If you know what I want –”

The skin behind his balls was delicate and damp, and Grantaire made a pleased noise around his cock when Enjolras shifted against him, trying to urge Grantaire’s fingers further, back where he wanted them.

“Not yet.”

Enjolras held still; and shuddered under the work of his tongue. Then he began to talk; to ask, to threaten, and at last, to plead. When that didn’t work, he dug his heels into Grantaire’s back, pressed hard, and finally beat a fretful drum. “Grantaire."

It wasn’t the kind of cry ripped out of a lover driven to madness; it was a peremptory command, and it expected obedience. Grantaire didn’t obey, and Enjolras surged up from the bed, wrestled him onto his back, and threw a leg over his shoulder, and Grantaire let himself be overwhelmed.

He could brawl with Enjolras by Greek rules or French, or no rules at all, and try his strength against his, but he had no doubt of eventually proving the winner. This, however – he’d wanted Enjolras to take what he wanted, not passively allow Grantaire to act upon him. This was action, this was selfishness; this was Enjolras astride his chest, thrusting his cock deep into his throat and making fierce, angry sounds as he did it, so he tightened his grip on Enjolras’s thighs and coaxed him on.

Finally Enjolras drew back, cock bright and wet from Grantaire’s mouth. The sight made his own balls ache; he meant to protest being pulled away with the task undone, but Enjolras’s rough treatment had left him breathless, unable to protest as Enjolras tugged him upright.

“If you won’t,” Enjolras said brusquely, “I will,” and fumbled between his own thighs.

Grantaire was dreaming; fantasising again; he was in Elysium, poppy-blown, and there Enjolras was straddling him, rocking back against the fingers piercing him to a rhythm of his own. There was a vertical line between his straight eyebrows, the lovely lids were a little lowered, lip caught between his white teeth.

He’d meant to do it himself, but watching Enjolras as he worked himself open was a vision, one never even imagined, and it held him fascinated. “God,” he said thickly.

Enjolras put his hand over Grantaire’s mouth. “Quiet,” he said, and Grantaire groaned hoarsely through the obstruction when Enjolras drove himself home on his cock.

He was burning hot inside, and almost painfully tight, far tighter than Grantaire would have dared to leave him. He wanted to tell Enjolras to stop, to let Grantaire open him up some more, but he couldn’t find the words; not with Enjolras’s fingers digging into his cheek and the side of his hand between his teeth, and the glorious feeling of Enjolras around him, his shaking breath coming in hot and cold bursts against Grantaire’s shoulder as the curious virtue of the spermaceti oil revealed itself. Softer than tallow, not as thin as vegetable oils, only a little had dribbled away; enough remained to make things easy. Easy, and then easier.

“God oh god,” Grantaire babbled against the restraining hand, and mouthed at its palm. “Mon ange; dulcissimus –”

“Not your whore?” Enjolras asked, and then pushed Grantaire’s head to the side and fastened his mouth to Grantaire’s neck. His teeth scraped over the thin skin there, and then his tongue followed. It was the closest thing to a kiss Grantaire had ever received from him; or been permitted to bestow. He reached blindly for Enjolras’s cock, only to be slapped away.

“Let me,” he said, drunk on Enjolras, pleading.

“Have I earned my carronade?” Enjolras asked, and ground down in his lap.

“Anything –"

“A box full of guns? A purse of louis d’or?"

Enjolras,” Grantaire moaned. “You have me – you have all of me – and you know it.”

“Not all,” Enjolras said, and clenched around him, tight as a fist.

He'd been too close too long, and had been fighting ball-ache and the loss of control from the moment he saw golden oil sliding down the inside of Enjolras’s pale thigh. He groped for any part of Enjolras he could reach, for his flexing thighs and sweat-slick back, still faintly indented with pressure marks from the corset.

His hips worked in desperate little thrusts; a wave of heat flooded him from his chin to his root of his cock.

“Ah,” Grantaire said roughly, when the pulse of his climax lessened and at last left him. He stroked Enjolras’s back with trembling fingertips. Even in this, he was alone; Enjolras was hard still, and looking at him with mingled satisfaction and displeasure. "Allow me merely to catch my breath -”

“You wanted to suck me,” Enjolras said, and pushed against Grantaire’s chest. He raised himself up onto his knees, and hissed a little as Grantaire’s cock slipped free. “Again. Again – to the end this time.”

He spent in mere moments, with a long sobbing breath and a hot rush of fluid, but Grantaire took no particular credit for it. He'd meant to break that cool reserve, make Enjolras admit his own desire, act upon it, and thereby master both him and whatever weakness in Grantaire himself yearned to abase himself before his adamant surety, his stony certainty. And failed. Enjolras was controlled before he was anything else, even in the moment of his breaking, and Grantaire had put himself in those fine white hands as surely as a pistol, and told him he was his to do with as Enjolras pleased; not simply in body, but in soul. Did Enjolras believe he possessed one? If not a conscience, at least, he might believe Grantaire to have a heart.

A heart; a weakness himself Enjolras would never admit to. He embraced the people, not the person. And wanting Grantaire, he'd had him, but remained master of himself. He was the rock Grantaire broke upon; unyielding knife to his helpless sheath. Any attempt to bind or hinder him would be served the same turn as the ruined corset.

"Thank you," Enjolras said, and touched his cheek before he left his bed. He was infinitely remote even like this, with Grantaire's spit wet on his cock and seed and oil mingled wet between his legs.

Grantaire turned his face to catch Enjolras's fingers. His lips brushed them, and were permitted to do so, before Enjolras drew his hand away. The guns had gone when he looked for them in the morning.