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Montparnasse ran.

 

His stomach had been in knots all day as he had fed Marionette and tried to find someway to occupy his thoughts. He made some questionable deals and then returned to his apartment and leafed through the pages of poetry that littered it. He watered the vase of flowers that sat in his bedroom and opened the windows in his sitting room.

He had tried to read. Tried to plan. Tried to distract himself.

Then... Then he hadn’t been able to stop himself. He had slipped out of the apartment and started walking. He been wandering the streets aimlessly for almost an hour when he had stumbled across where their barricade sat. He had stood there like an idiot, for at least five minutes, watching armed guards talking and listening to them complaining as they polished their weapons; until he just couldn’t. He retraced his steps and scaled the closest building. He jumped from roof to roof, avoiding the patrols and staying out of sight and then... there he stood. Looking down on the idiots below him, he had trouble believing that they were a group of intelligent men, for what they were doing, what they were attempting... they were all so stupid.

All of them, holed up in their stupid barricade, playing soldiers.

He creeped along the side of the roof, avoiding loose tiles, before shimmering down the wall of the Musain. The air was alight with passion and the students, because that’s what they were, all of them - students playing soldiers, fighting a battle that was doomed to fail, were talking and laughing and drinking. He had scanned the groups desperately looking for Jehan. He had to convince them to return with him he had to-

Then a gun at his back. He froze.

“Well well well... what do we have here? Our little poet was right. You are just like a cat. None of our lookouts even saw you approach.” The barrel disappeared and Montparnasse spun. He was met with a flash of red hair, a wide grin and an outstretched hand. “Feuilly”

Montparnasse ignored the outstretched hand. “Where are they? I need to talk to them now.”

Feuilly grin slid off his face and was replaced with a light frown. “Why? Is something-”

Chaton? Is that you?”

Spinning on his heel he caught sight of Jehan at the door of the Musain. Their hair was half out of their braid and there was a small smile on their face.

They were also unhurt. Which was good because he didn’t have time to hunt down whatever bastard would harm a single hair on their head.

Little bird.” The nickname came off more a prayer and he didn’t hesitate before grasping Jehan by the arm and dragging him in closer for a hug. Jehan’s soft glow enveloped him and the worry that had crawled up his throat disappeared.

He could also feel the stares he was receiving and his muscles automatically started tensing up. They were judging him. Or Jehan. They were judging Jehan for being with him. Of course they were.

(He couldn’t believe it himself that day, the day the badly dressed poet from the group of loud students that he had sometimes, {most definitely not,} watched from afar had approached him and bluntly asked him out.) He still couldn’t believe he had gotten this lucky - constantly waiting for the other shoe to fall and for the universe to take it all away.

But Jehan. Kind, understanding, loving Jehan simply unwinds himself from the hug and grasps one of his hands with both of theirs and tugs him into the warmth of the cafe. The door closes and Montparnasse is faced with the disapproving looks of the inner circle who sit around a table.

Enjolras stops mid sentence to stare him down before turning back to Combeferre and Courfeyrac, and picking up as if he never stopped. (He doesn’t know which one is Combeferre and which one is Courfeyrac but if he’s being honest he couldn’t really care. The only reason he even knows their name in the first place is because Jehan never stops talking about his friends and had pointed them out to him once, but now one is taking scribbling notes down and the other has a frown on his face.) Grantaire at least offers him a half crooked smile from across the room before cutting over Enjolras.

“Why don’t we take five? Grab a drink or some food.” He places a hand on Enjolras' shoulder.

Enjolras bristles. “The plans R! This isn’t a holiday camp. We don’t know when they will attack or-”

Grantaire cuts him off with a chaste kiss and Montparnasse raises an eyebrow. That’s new. Last he had seen Grantaire had been helplessly pining and Enjolras hopelessly oblivious. Grantaire drew back and Enjolras smiled back before grabbing his hand to lead the group outside.

The door opens and closes and then Montparnasse is alone with Jehan. He glances to see Jehan staring back up at him. There’s a small crease between their brows and he wants nothing more than to kiss it away. To kiss away all of Jehan’s fears and worries. To make the world a better and brighter place. For Jehan. Because if anyone in the world deserves it, it’s Jehan.

But not like this.

This is senseless violence that can only end in death and he won’t, he can’t stand by and see Jehan die. Not for this. Not in a battle where the king could have every soldier in France rain down hell upon them all.

“I take it you’re not here to join our cause?”

Montparnasse couldn’t stop the small wry smile that flashed across his face.

“No. No I’m not.” Then he frowned. “It’s the opposite. I want you to-”

No Chaton.”

Jehan didn’t even sound angry and he isn’t surprised. That wasn’t Jehan. They sounded more resigned -  like they had expected him to show up, begging for them to return.

“Please Jehan. This is a fools fight. You must see that. This can only end in bloodshed.” He hated the desperation that clung to voice. The fear that was evident and he hated more than anything that at this point Jehan wouldn’t pick him.

He was fighting a losing battle. Same as the students.

Yet he still tried. Same as the students.

But the difference was - he wasn’t willing to die. Not for this. No matter how much he loved Jehan he couldn’t stand beside him in this.

He couldn’t watch them die.

“I’m sorry Parnasse.”

There it was. The last sliver of hope that he had been holding onto slipped away with Jehan’s hand and he was left grasping at air.

He can’t stay and watch them die, so he turn towards the door intending to leave, but he pauses and glances back to see Jehan has his eyes glued to the floor and even from here he can see the build up of tears.

He’s back across the room with Jehan in his arms before he can second guess himself.

Why did he have to fall in love with such a fool? Or was he the fool for falling in love?

The thought is through his head before he fully processes it and it's enough to early turn him to tears. He loves Jehan. But now is not the time.

“Promise me you will survive this Jehan please.” He pulls back enough to try and meet Jehan’s eye but they are purposely not  looking at him. Montparnasse places his finger under Jehan’s chin and lightly tilts it up. They squeeze their eyes shut and he wishes he knew what was going on inside their head.

“Little bird. Please. Please look at me.”

It takes a minute but finally Jehan opens his eyes, which are lined with unshed tears. “I’m sorry Chaton, I can’t promise you that.”

Their voice is quiet but it’s enough to send him stumbling back half a step.

They were willing to throw their life away.

Even though he had known… hearing it come from their mouth was a different story.

“What about our plans Jehan?”

At least they have the decency to look ashamed as they turn and walk away.

“I’m sorry.”

“Jehan, please. We can be out of Paris in an hour. We can pack our bags and be en route to Créteil. Make our way south…. You said you wanted to travel. Please Jehan don’t do this!”

Jehan shivers as they stop walking yet refuses to look back at him. He continues.

“You know they won’t judge you Jehan. I - they all love you. Please little bird don’t make yourself into a Martyr.”

He crosses the room towards Jehan and hesitates a moment before placing a hand on their shoulder.

“Please.” (He hates how soft his voice is. Why did he have to fall in love with such an idealist.)

Jehan turns around and Montparnasse realises he hadn’t been shivering but crying silently. The tears had tracks down his face  and he was shaking like a leaf. He places the palm of his other hand against their cheek and smiles softly as Jehan unconsciously leans in towards it as he wipes the tear tracks away with is thumb.

Please.

“I can’t abandon them now Chaton. I know they wouldn’t judge and I know that this could go bad but I can’t leave them.”

Could? Jehan there is a 0% possibility of you coming out of this alive” They squeeze their eyes shut and attempt to turn away again but Montparnasse tightens their grip just enough to prevent it. “Jehan please. Please, I am begging you.” He places his forehead against Jehan’s and whispers, “please don’t do this

“I have to try. I can’t stand by and do nothing.”

This time when they try to pull away he lets Jehan go. Then he turns away.

He moves towards the door and refuses to turn around again. “I’m leaving Jehan. Tonight. Midnight. I will not stay here and watch you run head first into a suicide fight. If you change your mind find me in Créteil, I’ll stay there for a week to give you time to catch up if you su- change your mind.” He can feel the tears pour down his own cheeks and his hand tightens on the door handle.

“Goodbye Jehan Prouvaire.”

He opens the door and slips out shutting it behind him. He ignores the rest of the students as he runs towards the closest wall. He dimly hears Jehan yell out after him but he can’t stay. Jehan has made up his mind and Montparnasse has bags to pack, an apartment to clean out and friends to say goodbye to.

So he does what he has been doing his whole life.

He runs.

Paris holds too many memories to stay here any longer. He starts to scale the wall and -

A hand catches onto his shoulder and drags him back to street level. He turns as he falls fist already swinging only for it to be caught. He is faced with the angry blonde.

“You will return and you will listen to Jehan or so help me I’ll kill you myself.”

“No you won’t. You will die for your cause as a martyr and you will drag the person I love most in this godforsaken world down with you” he hisses out. “You could convince him not to do this. For him to return with me. For all your pretty words Enjolras all you can seem to do is lead people to their deaths.”

He ignores the crowd watching them. The awkward shuffling and heated stares. The denial.

He stares into Enjolras’ eyes and he doesn’t flinch away from the cold stare. How Grantaire can put up with him is a mystery.

Speaking of…. Grantaire appears over Enjolras’ shoulder and places a hand on his shoulder. There is a haunted look in his eyes that tells Montparnasse he heard what he said and agrees. Yet he stays.

Love makes fools of some people. But not of him. He has worked too hard to survive in life with the hand he was dealt to throw it away.

Grantaire just moves Enjolras away and leaves Montparnasse standing with his back to the wall with nothing but a tight closed lip smile.

“You know they are crying?” He jumps and turns to see a boy is standing by an upturned crate beside him. There is a child here. On the barricade.

Gavroche. Then he recognises the street urchin and a flash of anger shoots through him. Gavroche. Did Enjolras really have such a disregard for human life that he would allow this child on the barricade?

“Gavroche, what the hell are you doing here.”

Okay so maybe he was using this as a distraction. You know they are crying? He would bring Gavroche back to his apartment , keep him safe, keep him alive. And he would find Eponine and Azelma because those three were all each other had, and god knows with pretty boy on the barricade Eponine wouldn’t be too far behind. You know they are crying? He grabbed Gavroche by the arm and dragged him further away from the barricade.

“I’m helping” His smile was so wide and he looked so proud of himself. Dam Enjolras for inspiring such loyalty from those so young.

“No. you are not. You are coming with me. We are finding your sisters and -”

Gavroche tried to tug his arm away. “No! Enjolras said I could help!”

Montparnasse almost lost it and started yelling. “He doesn’t care Gav. Enjolras is a cold hearted bastard who doesn’t care about anyone” You know they are crying? “Where is Eponine?”

Gavroche sulked as Montparnasse hurried him along the side of the Musain. They would have to leave by the front. Slightly more dangerous but Gavroche was too small to be able to make the jumps between rooftops. They pass the door of the Musain and Montparnasse slows as he hears muffled sobs and hushed voices. You know they are crying?

“Jehan hasn’t stopped crying since you ran out”

Gavroche was looking up at him accusingly. “What did you say to them? Jehan is one of the nicest people I know Monty! What happened?”

Montparnasse tried not to cringe at the terrible nickname bestowed upon him by the kid. “I told him the truth, like I’m going to tell you. This is a doomed fight. Everyone you see here? There is a high chance by the time the fighting is over they will all be dead. There aren’t enough of them. They are hopelessly outnumbered and I won’t stay and watch them die.” He looks back at Gavroche whose eyes are widened and full of fear. “I am leaving Paris, Gavroche. Tonight. I am taking what I can carry and leaving the rest. You and your siblings may stay in my apartment if you wish. You know where I keep the money hidden”

Gavroche nods and takes a deep breath. “That doesn’t explain why Jehan is crying.”

Montparnasse smiles softly. “We were meant to leave together, but he has chosen this futility instead. So I leave by myself because I can’t, I won’t , stay here. I can’t watch them die.”

He is so caught up in his conversation with Gavroche he doesn’t notice the door open. He doesn’t see the crowd of students looking away but obviously listening. He doesn’t hear the soft patter of feet. So he startles when a head falls onto his shoulder and he feels the wetness against his neck.

“Please chaton. Please don’t leave.” He can feel the tears drip down his neck and he lets go of Gavroche who has the good sence to back away a few steps before sitting down.

Montparnasse feels his anger surge and pulls himself away from Jehan. He stands up and spins around to face them. Combeferre and Courfeyrac stand behind Jehan along with a bald student.

“How can you be so selfish? Why would you ask me to stay and watch you die? Would you have me go home and go to sleep Jehan?”

He takes a step forwards and Jehan steps back.

“Would you have me go to bed safely and wake up in the morning to return to find you all dead ? Would you have me walk the barricade looking for your body? Or if the soldiers come and take you away? Would you have me risk my life then to get your body so i could bury it somewhere I could visit? Is that what you want Jehan? Is that-”

He slips on something and falls to the ground. It is too much. Why can’t Jehan see that he not as strong, as he appears. Fight or flight. He will fight when there is no doubt he can win. But mostly he will run.

He can’t stop the tears and finds that at this moment he doesn’t give a shit about about his reputation. Who are they going to tell anyway? They will all be dead soon enough.

A hand brushes against his shoulder and he flinches. “Don’t touch me.”

“Parnasse please.” And fuck it if Jehan isn’t crying as well.

“Jehan, I can’t look at you right now without wanting to throw up.” He knew he was being blunt and cruel but Jehan just didn’t get it. How could they expect him to be alright? After telling him, they would prefer to die on a barricade than live with him. Live full stop.

Please

Yet when it comes down to it when has he ever been able to deny Jehan anything?

He looks up at Jehan. “What? What do you have to say Jehan? I have other things to do tonight. I have people to take care of - people like Gavroche. Speaking of - what the hell is wrong with you Jehan? Letting that kid near this place? I get now, that you have some sort of death pact with your little group of friends, but why drag the kid into it?" He stumbles to his feet. "I am getting him back to the apartment and I’m finding Azelma and Eponine. They are not losing each other tonight if I can help it, so make your important speech Jehan. I won’t interrupt. I won’t say another word. Say what you have to say and then I’m gone.”

He stares at Jehan. The bald student pushes the other two back into the cafe and shuts the door. The other students go back to talking among themselves and Gavroche wanders over to talk to someone.

He wipes away the tear tracks on his face and raises an eyebrow at Jehan.

Silence.

He motions with his hand for Jehan to start talking but no words are said. Jehan just scans his face and gnaws on his lower lip. He meant what he said. He wouldn’t say another word. He had said his goodbyes earlier and didn’t intend on going through that again.

Silence.

He shakes his head and turns away disappointed.

“Gavroche? We are leaving”

“I’ll come out of this alive”

Their voice is soft. He can’t stop the scoff that leaves his throat and he shakes his head in disbelief. He looks over to see Gavroche hasn’t moved. “Gavroche!” the kid looks up and smiles, sticks his thumbs up and hugs whoever he was talking to.

“Please, look at me chaton.” He flinches at the nickname. “ I promise . I will see you tomorrow. The fight might not be over but I will come find you. Just please don’t leave. We can grab lunch and go for a walk along the seine. I’ll let you braid my hair and we can watch the stars. Please Montparnasse. Please

Maybe it's the use of his full name slipping from between Jehan’s lips for the first time in what feels like an eternity or maybe he is just really tired but he nods stiffly, turns on his heel and goes over to where Gavroche is.

A man brushes past him. “My apologies Monsieur.” He freezes momentarily. Then speeds up.

“Gavroche!!” he looks up.

“We leaving now Monty?” Montparnasse frowns and looks back. “In a moment, I need to talk to Enjolras”

“Is this about him letting me stay? Because it’s not entirely his fault. You see-”

“No Gav. it because i’m 90% sure Javet just passed me”

That piqued his interest. He stands on the box to look over the crowd of volunteers.

“Holy crap Monty, you’re right!! I’ll warn the guys over here you tell Enj and the rest inside!”

If the situation wasn’t so dire he would have laughed at the sight of young Gavroche taking command. Instead he slips past Javet and ignoring Jehan he pushes open the door to the musain. Enjolras stops talking as he slams the door.

“You guys have a problem.”

There is a knock on the door. “Hello can I speak to your leader?”

Javet.

He runs to the table and grabs  a quill and a sheet from the table and scrawls:

 

Inspector Javert

 He underlines it and shoves the page at Enjolras

“Fuck.” Well trust Grantaire to put it bluntly. Enjolras grabs the page and holds it over a candle.

“Come on through comrade”

Montparnasse slinks into the shadows and as soon as the door opens and as it closes, Enjolras catches his eye and gives the smallest of nods.  

The plank of wood from the crates is in his hand and swinging through the air before Javet knows what hits him.

He drops the plank of wood beside the crumpled body of the inspector.

“Chaton-”

Turning on his heel he stalks back out of the Musain and grabs Gavroche. Then he spots Marius talking to a familiar body.

“Eponine! What the hell are you doing here?”

He is so done with this family. They are all crazy and self sacrificing and he is done with it.

He grabs Eponine by the hand and she drops a letter. “Hey! What you playing at Par?”

Listen to me Eponine . You, your brother and Azelma are staying with me tonight. Pontmercy can deliver his own mail, he is not an invalid and if I hear one word of protest from either of you, you won’t like the consequences.”

They follow him towards the exit and he pretends not to notice that Jehan trails behind them.

“Par-”

“I know”

“They co-”

I know

One of the soldiers open the door and Montparnasse stops to let the siblings through first. Jehan comes to a stop at their side.

“I meant what I said chaton. I will see you tomorrow.”

The thought flashes through his mind. I love you.

He knows if he says it Jehan will follow him immediately. But… would he?

He doesn’t want to face the possibility that Jehan will just turn away from him, into the barricade never to return.

Jehan is staring him down. It feels like he is reading his soul and knows every little secret he has tried to bury.

“Monty - you coming?”

He turns away.

Jehan drags him back in for a kiss. Their hands are on each side of his face, softly holding him yet he can feel the desperation and the emotion in what Jehan is pouring into the kiss. His own hand comes up instinctively to undo the end of the messy braid holding back Jehans hair and he runs his fingers through it. He feels more than hears Jehan moan and his own body reacts instinctively, curling around Jehan, pushing him back against the closest wall and-

“Incoming!!”

They break apart.

Tomorrow ” Jehan promises before turning back and running towards the Musain, catching a rifle thrown their way.

Montparnasse grabs both Eponine and Gavroche and race down a side street. They criss-cross across Paris, avoiding barricades and avoiding cops.

The sounds of flying bullets follows them all the way to the apartment.

***

Azelma is curled up in a ball at his front door and Eponine rushes over to check her for injuries. “How did you know to come here?” Montparnasse questions.

“Eponine told me and Gavroche that if anything ever happened or we needed somewhere safe we were to come to your place”

Montparnasse turned to Eponine who just shrugged. “You’re the only person I would trust them with.”

He blinked. Okay. Not the answer he was expecting. When had he become someone who could be trusted with kids? The little voice in his head told him it was around the same time he had fallen in love with a badly dressed poet and would risk his life to save a kitten who was drowning in the river because a street urchin had asked it of him. Speaking of...

The small ball of fur came rushing across the room and felt the familiar feel of tiny claws ripping into his trousers. “Hello Marionette” He reached down to scratch the kitten behind the ear before plucking her off his trousers and passing her over to Azelma and Gavroche who had dug up some ham and a bit of milk. “You two spoil her, you know that?”

He collapses onto the couch and tries to ignore the pointed look that Eponine is giving him. He listens to the kids talk to each other and coo at the cat and hears the purrs grow louder.

“Are you-” Her voice is hesitant.

“I’m fine.”

“Par-”

“Please Ep. Not tonight. I can’t think of anything else tonight.” He can’t deal with her worrying over him when he is working hard enough to keep himself from losing control.

“Why didn’t you stay with them then?”

“Not now Eponine. Please, not now”

The guilt and fear is eating him up inside. Why can’t she see that? He knows he did the right thing, getting Eponine and Gavroche out. Azelma needs them. He needs them. Along with Jehan, the Thenardier kids are the only real family he has.  

He stands up. The room sways around him and he stumbles across the apartment. “I’m going to lie down. Please feel free to crash in one of the spare rooms or where ever”

And not waiting on a reply he closes the door and falls onto his too big bed, with the sheets messy and untucked. He falls asleep without even removing his shoes.

Only to be awoken by a frightened Azelma. “I told him not to- it’s all my fault- please don’t tell Eponine…”

The drowsiness left him. “What happened Azelma? Where is your brother? Where is Gavroche?”

“It’s my fault. I forgot to close the window. He said he’d be right back but it’s been ten minutes and I’m scared. The fighting is still ongoing and what if Marionette gets hurt?”

“Wait what?” The cat? What the hell had happened?

“I left the window open and when the fighting picked back up, I think she got scared. She ran out the window and Gavroche went after her. She’s only a baby Monty! What if something happened to her? Or to Gavroche?” The panic that filled Montparnasse was slowly filling Azelma as well. “If anything happens it will be my fault!”

Montparnasse tried to think quickly. If he woke Eponine she would leave to track her brother down. If anything went south, if anything happened…  Azelma would be alone.

“Stay here and try to get some sleep Az. I’ll go find Gavroche and the kitten. If your sister wakes, you do not tell her what happened. She will try to leave as well and that mean one of two things. Either you are left here alone or you would go with her. Either way it’s more for me to stress over so you sleep.”

He strode across the apartment avoiding looking at the spare room Eponine had claimed. “I’ll be back soon Az.” He winked at her. “Love ya squirt”

She ran across the room. “Stay safe Monty. Love you”

Crossing the streets he stuck to the shadows as dusk rolled in. He tried to keep positive. The cat was small. Not likely to have gotten too far.  And Gavroche was smart. He knew how to survive.

Gunshots sounded and he froze.

He wouldn’t go back to the barricade would he? “Enjolras said I could help!”

His heart filled with fear as he started to pray. Please let him be wrong. Please let Gavroche be wandering elsewhere.

He sped up. He crossed roads. He turned corners. He crossed the river. He jumped walls.

And stops.

There.

At the corner of the street.

Gavroche was sitting petting the kitten. The stupid goddamn kitten. He could have cried.

As he approached Gavroche looked up. “Hi Monty.”

He frowned. Something was wrong.

“What were you thinking Gavroche? You could have been hurt! You could have been killed. The life of an animal is not worth yours.”

Gavroche shook his head. “That’s not what Jehan says. Jehan told me all life is worth the same. So as I understand it, everyone has one life and it’s up to them to decide how to spend it. But Monty, animals only have one life as well. Be that a bird or a kitten, they also only have one life. Should their life be worth any less than ours?”

He frown a little and checking the street for any sign of danger he crouches down opposite Gavroche. “What’s brought this on my young friend? I have never heard you speak like this. What has brought it on? What happened?”

Gavroche looks back down at the purring kitten. “I saved her life. That’s a good thing right?”

“Of course…” He was so confused. Where was Gavroche going with this? He moves to rub the kitten behind the ear and his finger comes away wet.

His stomach drops.

“Gavroche? Where did this blood come from? What happened?”

Gavroche refuses to meet his eye. “Gavroche! I’m serious what happened? You better tell me right now or I won’t hold Eponine back!”

The kid smiles sadly. “I love her as well. And Azelma. Best sisters ever. They know that don’t they?”

Montparnasse hesitates before pulling the jacket that Gavroche is wearing back. The kitten had been tucked against his chest.

There was blood everywhere.

Montparnasse let out a choked sob and flung himself beside Gavroche to hold him.

“I’m okay Monty. Don’t worry. Doesn’t hurt much anyway” Gavroches voice breaks and then he has his head dropping onto Montparnasse’s arm. “I’m sorry, please tell them I’m sorry.”

“What are talking about Gav? You’re gonna be fine. I’ve been shot before - that’s nothing.”

He was trying to keep his tone light. It was bad. It was really really bad.

As he looked around he could make out out the splatters of blood on the ground and the smear on the wall he had missed when he had first come across the kid.

He was going to slaughter every last one of those assholes.

“I’m not an idiot Monty. I’m not a child either”

He let out out  a choked noise of disbelief. “Of course you are Gav. You left the safety of apartment for a cat . I told you to stay where I could protect you. Why didn’t you listen?”

“I’m sorry.” Gavroche’s voice catches and he lets out a gasp of pain. Marionette burrows further into Gavroche’s warmth and now that he looks he can see the dark red blood against the black fur.

The gunshots ring out and the moon starts rising as the colours of dusk fade. Montparnasse hold the child closed to his chest.

Gavroches breathing quiets and Montparnasse can no longer hide the tears.

“Please Gavroche. Stay awake a little longer yeah?”

“I’m so tired though Monty. I’ll be ok.”

A scream echoes down the alley and suddenly Eponine is there.

“Gavroche? Gavroche! No no no nonononono. Par what happened? Who did this?”

He shook his head. “I don’t know. But I’ll kill them all”

Eponine fell to the floor beside her brother and clutched his almost lifeless body to her chest. “Gav? Are you awake? You have to stay awake!”

“Love you Ep. You’re the best sister a guy could ask for you know that?”

Montparnasse had to look away as the tears poured from his eyes. What had been the point of the last few hours? He had thought he had guaranteed their safety upon taking them away from the barricades, but now… here they were, back on the streets, in the middle of a war zone.

Maybe Gavroche would had been safer at the barricades. He doubted Enjolras really would have let him near the fighting, would have kept him confined to one of the houses, left him in the care of one of the women.

Had he killed the child by trying to save him?

Was this his fault?

“Where Zelly? Is she out as well?” Gavroche tried to escape Eponine’s hold. “You need to get her back to safety. You need-” he broke off with a barely concealed cry of anguish. 

“She’s asleep back at the apartment Gav, she’s safe.”

“Good. You keep her safe Ep... You keep... her safe...” Gavroche smiles softly before closing his eyes.

A moment passes and his hand slides from where it had lain on Eponine’s arm

“Gav? Gavroche? Oh god, oh please no. Please wake up. Come on Gavroche. Wake up

Eponine buries face into her brothers curls and cries harder. Montparnasse leans across the corpse of the 12 year old he considered a brother and dragged Eponine in close beside him for a hug.

They sit and cry together as the stars shine bright above them.

Then between them, they wrap Gavroche in Montparnasses jacket and go off to hunt for somewhere safe to crash. His apartment is too far away. 

He can only hope Azelma stays there till they can return in the morning.

The kitten stays curled up on Gavroches chest, claws digging into the coat,no longer purring.

***

It’s ironic that the closest place they can find is the barricade.

The fighting has stopped for now and the armed forces have retreated. The barricade is not, by any means quiet. Sounds of laughter and shouts of excitement can be heard. There are a group of them singing and Montparnasse just wants them all to shut up .

It is Feuilly who spots them staggering down the street.

Well he spots Eponine who has ran on ahead. Montparnasse follows, Gavroche clutched close to his chest.

“It’s Eponine!! Someone open the barricade.”

There are cheers and greeting that fall short as they take in Eponine's obvious distress and Montparnasse following in behind her. The bundle in his arms. The tear tracks on both their faces.

Marius pushes through the crowd and pulls her in for a hug. “Good Eponine what are you doing back here? I thought you had left with Montparnasse and-” he stops talking. “Where is Gavroche?”

Eponine falls against her friend and the sobs start anew.

Marius looks up to see Montparnasse standing near the wall, the bundle in his arms. He grasps Eponine tighter and they both sink to the floor.

A voice breaks through the silence. “Is this what you wanted Apollo? The first death. Are you satisfied with your rebellion?”

Grantaire.  

“R, please-” Enjolras’s voice sounds so small and Montparnasse momentarily imagines not punching the shit out of him. The moment passes and his hatred towards the student who lead this rebellion that caused the death of his brother will feel pain once Montparnasse feels he can stand without leaning on something.

“Montparnasse was right earlier. This is a doomed fight. If we stay we die. We should never have started this madness.”

Grantaire takes a swing from the bottle in his hand. Walking over to Montparnasse he pulls the coat back from Gavroches head, chokes back a sob and presses a kiss to his forehead. “Foolish child” he hears Grantaire mumble, before he turns, walks past Enjolras who hadn’t moved and slammed the door of the Musain behind him.

A hand touches his elbow and he startles. “Let us take him. We will put him somewhere safe.”

It is one of the students. Another stands behind him, a hand on his shoulder.

Montparnasse hesitates, reluctant to give up the protection of Gavroche to anyone. He was the one who should have protected him.

But all he can choke out is, “don’t hurt him” before passing him over.

The second student accidentally hits the sleeping Marionette and is rewards with a swipe of her claws. “You have the worst luck my friend” is all he hears as the two walk awake.

Then he is alone. Eponine is surrounded by her friends and Montparnasse just climbs the barricade and intends to leave.

“You weren’t even going to say hello?”

Jehan.

“I can’t do this right now Jehan.” He hates that his voice cracks but he can’t even look at Jehan right now. Montparnasse was right earlier. This is a doomed fight. If we stay we die. “I have to find Azelma. I have to-”

Jehan cuts him off with a hug from behind. They doesn’t say anything and he is glad for it. Montparnasse’s grip on the barricade slackens and he crumples, wrapped in Jehan’s warmth.

He cries himself to sleep wrapped up in Jehan.

He awakens inside the cafe to the sound of gunfire and yelling.

***

He stumbles out of the Musain to see hell on earth.

Soldiers swarm the barricades. Bodies litter the ground - soldiers and students alike.

He can’t see Jehan.

This was what he had feared - what he had known - would happen.

He has to find Jehan.

He grabs a gun of sorts off a dead body and a sword from another.

He murders his way across the killing field.

Any of these soldiers could have been the one to have killed Gavroche. He’ll never know who exactly so he’ll take as many as he can in retribution. It will never be enough.

He catches a glimpse of Eponine, hair sweeping, standing atop a table - she disappears.

Only to reappear, being dragged by … Marius? They make their way towards one of the houses and he see’s Eponine pick the lock. They both disappear inside.

The two students who took Gavroches body are fighting back to back, both with wild grins on their faces, laughing and teasing each other between shots.

Enjolras and his two friends are in the middle of the fighting, grim faced and angry.

Feuilly…. He glances around and sees the bullet pierced body atop of the barricade.  The red hair so similar to Jehan it makes him nearly thrown up.

Jehan! ” He screams desperately.

He starts running.

Two bullets in quick succession and he automatically ducks.

Then glances around as he hears the sound of bodies fall.

The two students. The ones who took Gavroche. He never learned their names. A woman screams. “My boys! Let me go to my boys!”

He sees the young woman being held back by another student as she tries to make her way towards the fallen. “I’m sorry ‘Chetta I can’t...”

He jumps up and continues his task.

A swing of the blade. A perfectly fired shot.

The dead pile up.

Find Jehan. Protect Jehan .

He sees Jehan the same moment Jehan sees him.

He sprints.

Jehan is alive.

Jehan is alive.

Jehan is-  He sees the soldier raise his gun to aim.

Montparnasse closes his eyes as Jehan crashes into them, twists them 180 degrees, kisses their head and -

Pain.

He falls.

Jehan screams.

He sees the gunman fall at the hands of Enjolras who now stares at Montparnasse in horror.

He is dimly aware of being lifted by Enjolras’ two friends and hears a shout of retreat

He cries out as they place him on the table and -

“You’re so stupid Chaton, why would you… why?

Jehan.

“My little bird, The light of my life,  how could I not ?”

He doesn’t regret it. If it means Jehan lives, everything would be worth it. He would give up anything and everything if it meant his love would live a long and happy life.

“It was meant for me, that bullet was meant for me, and you saw and you-” Jehan breaks down and throws themself over his body, bursting into fitful sobs. Wincing Montparnasse lifts a hand and threads his fingers in their hair.

“I- I’m not worth that Chaton, I’m not worth you-”

“Don’t say that!” Montparnasse hissed. “You are worth everything to me. You are the most important thing in my life.”

He feels Jehan shake against him and he glances around to see that their friends have backed away and are arguing quietly in the corner. He closes his eyes.

He is dying. He can feel the bullet move inside him as he shifts. It's in an awkward place and it's going to hurt like hell. There is no doctor around in this war zone and he doesn’t have enough time to make it to a healers.

He opens his eyes and lightly tugs at Jehan’s hair until they lift their head and meet his eyes. He is dying. What has he left to lose?

“I love you little bird. I don’t regret taking the shot and I’d do it again for you in a heartbeat.”

Something fractures in Jehans eyes and they places a hand behind his neck and draws him in for a kiss.

“You foolish, foolish man.” Jehan pressed a kiss to his forehead and he feels a tear drop hit him.  “I love you as well, but now you have condemned me to watch you die.”

“But you will live, mon coeur, and that is worth more than I could ever hope for.”

A burst of pain shoots through his chest and he bites back a scream. He has never been so thankful for how he grew up. He can hide the pain behind smiles. He can fake it a little while longer.

“Talk to me, little bird. Come on, do you have a song to sing lark? Or a poem to quote?”

Jehan lifts his head to stare at him with those doe brown eyes. “Don’t joke chaton, don’t pretend with me or try to be brave on my behalf. I don’t appreciate you trying to distract me or-”

“Jehan, I am dying.” he says softly. He raises his hand and places his palm against Jehan’s cheek. “I want you to distract me . I want to lie here with you and pretend we are home. Please Jehan.”  He can hear the slight twinge of panic in his voice and he tries to bury it. He doesn’t want to die. “Please”

Jehan sits down on the edge of the table and grasps his hands tightly in theirs. He hears Enjolras say something and the door of the Musain is opened and closed.

They are alone again.

***

He closes the door behind them. A hand is on his shoulder. Courfeyrac. “It's not your fault Enjolras. There was nothing to be done-”

“If I had been quicker on the draw I could have killed him before he raised his gun. I nearly got Jehan killed, I just got ‘Parnasse killed. Bahrol is dead. Joly and Bossuet are dead. Feuilly is dead. Marius and Eponine have vanished, they are probably dead as well. Gavroche…. Gavroche is dead. “ he takes a shuddering breath and rubs the tears from his eyes. “It is my fault. R and Parnasse were right. I have killed us all.”

Combeferre meets Courfeyrac’s eyes. “We are not all dead yet, fearless leader. Come let us fight us till we can’t any longer and pray that this will be all worth it in the end.”

Combeferre holds out a gun and Courfeyrac holds out the flag and Enjolras, his face set in grim determination takes them both

***

He can nearly ignore the yelling. Jehan whispers verses of poems unknown into his ears and presses the odd kiss to his lips. He doesn’t fall asleep because he doesn’t want to miss anything to do with Jehan. The sun is beginning to rise and it streams through the window and the way it hits Jehan’s red hair makes them look ethereal. He dies with a smile on his face and his eyes on Jehan.

***

Jehan lets out a strangled sob as he sees Montparnasse’s chest stop moving. “I love you. I love you. I love you. I’m so sorry Chaton, this is all my fault. I should have left with you. This is all on me. I’m so sorry”

The door bursts open and Jehan is dimly aware of Ferre, Courf and Enjolras rushing up the stairs.  He is pressing a kiss to Montparnasse’s hand when the bullet goes through his head.

***

The single shot. Enjolras freezes. “Jehan.”

Ferre and Courf hover while Enjolras rushes to check the windows, check for any escape.

A round of shots.  

Enjolras spins in time to see his two best friends fall to the ground. Dead.

Footsteps.

He has his back to the wall with nowhere to go. He dries his tears and turns to his anger to save him. As the soldiers line up before him he drops his weapon.

“Shoot me.” He is done running. If he is to die he will die proudly. He will not grovel he will not beg. Then he sees the movement and-

No. Please no.

Grantaire. Why was he still here? Why…

Grantaire meets his eyes and the look… Enjolras tries to silently beg him to stay quiet because god… he has seen enough death. All of his friends have fallen and now the man he loves. He doesn’t know if he can bear it.

Then the sergeant stepped forward. “Take aim”

He didn’t close his eyes. He smiled softly at R and tried to convey his love for him in a glance, because god knows he had been too proud to say it before. Pride. It was always going to be his downfall.

Then a soldier. “Wait, do you wish to have your eyes bandaged?”

He drags his eyes away from R and leveled the soldier with a glare. “No.”

“And it was you who killed the artillery sergeant?”

He presumes they mean the first soldier he killed. The man who shot Bahrol. Anger surges through him and he smiles mockingly at them. “Yes.”

His lack of remorse infuriates them and he can see they are ready to kill him. His grip tightens on the flag.

“Take aim.”

He forces himself to look over their heads. He sends a silent apology to Grantaire but he can’t bear to look at him and -

“Long live the Republic! I'm one of them”

No. But there he is striding towards them with a spark in his eye and a half grin on his face.

Grantaire.

He looks wild.

“Long live the republic. Finish us both with one blow.” he stops when he reaches Enjolras’s side. He places one of his palms against his cheek and whispers, “Do you permit it?”

It reminds him of their first kiss, in the snow in front of his apartment where R had pushed a lock of hair back behind his ear and brushed away a snowflake from his cheek.

Enjolras smiles and grabs his hand before raising the flag. If there was anyone he had to die beside, he was glad it was Grantaire there.

***

The fighting was over. Marius and Eponine snuck from the house after the sound of soldiers had gone. Eponine had stopped to scoop up a trembling kitten from the shadows of the the building, then they had checked the Musain. They opened the to find both Montparnasse and Jehan dead, grasping onto each others hands, both with eyes open. Eponine had sobbed while Marius went upstairs in the hopes of finding any of his friends still alive but - oh

Combeferre and Courfeyrac lie in the middle of a bullet torn floor.

Enjolras is pinned to the wall with Grantaire at his feet, hands clasped tightly even in death. Blood soaks the flag the floor and the wall and Marius can barely stop himself from throwing up.

They are dead. They are all dead.

He sits on the stairs and weeps.