There was a really simple reason behind Grantaire's refusal to believe in a single thing. Belief lead people towards not only their own doom, but also their friend's and entourage's, at least with alcohol he was the only one at risk.
Which explained why he never really understood how he had first ended up at the Musain, a place full of firm believers. Mostly, he didn't get how he fell for the fiercest of them all. One look at that stupid red jacket's owner and he was lost. So lost that he never found his way out, although he hadn't exactly tried to do so. It was ironic and maybe a little tragic how attached he was to the one thing he had sworn he would never get close to again.
But he stayed.
Alcohol made it easier, but not nearly enough. He tried to argue with the group and the banter was usually friendly and amusing, but Enjolras took his beliefs very seriously and was never really amused. Disgusted would be a word more fitting to describe the looks he threw at Grantaire.
And still, he stayed.
Grantaire stayed although his friends and those he had come to think of as family were planning their own demise.
He stayed although their cause was already lost and their revolution crushed before it even began.
He stayed although he could see all of this mess unfolding, although he knew exactly what would happen.
He stayed because although he never believed in any of this nonsense and although it pained him to even think about it, he still believed.
He believed in Enjolras.
It killed Grantaire to watch them plan their little revolution, he knew how these things ended, after all, he had seen it firsthand in the past. No matter how much his Apollo believed, Paris wouldn't follow. Not once they'd see the soldiers fighting back. They'd never put their lives in the hands of some random students whose heads were full of wonders and big ideals.
They would run away.
Leave them to die.
The sane part of his brain was yelling at him to do something, or at least to run away. Alas, how could he? His very soul was irrevocably tied to the one person leading Les Amis through this.
Grantaire laughed bitterly, taking another swing of his whiskey to try yet again to drown his mind.
"Something funny, R?" snapped Enjolras, interrupting his speech with a burning look.
"Nah, don't worry about it too much, Apollo", winked Grantaire.
He would cry if he could, hell, he would be bawling his eyes out if he hadn't dried them out long ago. Grantaire was exhausted. Watching your whole group self-destruct will do that to a person. Which is why instead of joking around or hanging out as he usually did at the end of their meetings, he wandered towards the door trying to leave unseen. It was normally pretty easy since no one really paid much attention to the antics of a drunkard.
"Wait", Grantaire wasn't exactly a lucky boy. "I need to talk to you, it's important" demanded Enjolras as he pulled the reluctant man towards a backroom.
Nobody else made Grantaire as on guard as their golden haired leader did. It wasn't very surprising as nobody else made him feel as vulnerable either.
He could feel Enjolras' eyes burning through his skull as he sunk down on a comfortable wooden chair, a bottle of whiskey still dangling from his fingers.
"I need you to tell me why you're here."
Grantaire looked up, eyebrows raising in disbelief.
"It has been years Apollo, I thought by now you either figured or didn't care enough to ask. Why are you asking now of all ti-" he cut himself off as realisation struck him. "You thin- you want to know if I'm a traitor." He said flatly as if he didn't care. As if he wasn't hurt that Enjolras could even think he would.
"Wha- No! Why would I let you stay and get close to us if I didn't tru- accept you?"
Grantaire almost scoffed at Enjolras' aborted statement on trust. "Then why."
"Because we both know what the risks are, because you clearly don't believe in our cause, because I don't even know why you stayed in the first place, but mostly because I need to know if you'll stay or run."
At that, R chuckled a little and asked softly, " Don't you think I'd be long gone if I had planned to leave?".
A tense silence filled the room as they held each other's stare. It was almost shocking how Enjolras could be fierce and unstoppable at times, but hesitant and unable to socialise properly in areas that he deemed less critical.
"Right. Well have a good night then".
And he was gone, as fast as he had first appeared.
The following week, Marius had barged in the room complaining about some girl who stole his heart and the whole group was teasing him as he was terrified of women until that very moment. Enjolras, as emotionally constipated as ever, was trying to get Marius to see that bigger problems were currently happening and that no one cared about his lonely soul. So of course, Grantaire just had to encourage the poor dumb kid's passionate crush on some random girl whose name he ignored.
The look their fearless leader was giving him was awesome, but the one said leader gave Marius when he tried to explain heterosexuality to him was even better.
He would've gladly stayed to mock them both, but the sound of Gavroche's footsteps was heard and he lost any interest he had for it.
The kid was like their little brother, but he refused to live with any of them. He had been a child of Paris' street for his whole life and had gotten used to the freedom it provided him.
"General Lamarque is dead!" yelled Gavroche upon his arrival, shutting down every single conversation in a second.
Not so soon.
Grantaire mentally begged for them to at least have another day of peace.
At least another night.
"It's the sign we were waiting for" exclaimed Enjolras with a renewed determination.
Of course it was.
Grantaire let himself drop back on the chair, his head as spinning, which he refused to acknowledge as he drowned himself in red wine this time. He wasn't really paying attention, but he knew that they were planning, he'd just rather pretend that all of said planning was for a birthday or a pamphlet.
He hated it.
He looked up slowly, as if his neck couldn't support the weight of his head anymore, and locked eyes with Enjolras. He tried to convey his despair through this fleeting link, tried to tell him how he felt and how much it ripped him apart to see them run towards death.
The only thing it did was to make Enjolas' stare so much more decided and passionate.
He shouldn't have been surprised.
He wanted to scream.
To kick them all and make them see what was happening.
He wanted to take away their ideals.
To take away their stupid beliefs.
Then again, if he took away what made them who they were, they'd all end up like him. Grantaire wouldn't let that happen. He knew they would never stop. Ever. Even if he succeeded in changing their mind this time, they'd find another cause, another reason to sacrifice themselves. But they wouldn't let him stick around this time.
So he didn't say anything, he just took another swig of his drink and stayed.
They were outside, attending Lamarque's public funeral. Grantaire closed his eyes, trying to keep himself calm and collected, but he was miserably failing.
He had told himself the he wouldn't be drinking, that they might need him to be alert and help, but who was he kidding, nobody ever needed him. Plus, if he had one thing in common with life, it was that they were both full of disappointments. He looked away from Enjolras, afraid to see his disgusted look. Not that he needed to, because their leader in red was highly focused on their plan.
They took over the procession, Paris cheered for them and followed confidently.
The soldiers came back.
Everything was screams and gunshots.
It was all way too much input for his alcohol induced-brain to process.
He spotted Enjolras' golden locks and followed him as well as the rest of Les Amis towards a cul-de-sac.
A barricade, they weren't nearly enough for this plan to work, but Grantaire stayed nonetheless.
He got one chair, kissed the kind old lady sitting on it goodbye and threw it atop the steadily growing pile of furniture.
He was not drunk enough for this mess.
All around him, chaos erupted.
They were all way too young.
Fighting a battle way too big.
A gun was thrown his way by Enjolras, which was nice, except that he was way too drunk to catch it properly. Still, he did his best because it was Enjolras. Because he trusted him with it.
When the soldiers retreated, Grantaire refused to acknowledge any losses, he was extremely good at denial. Instead, he tried to reassure the ones who were still there.
Enjolras started saying something about Paris backing them up and standing with them, so he turned around slowly to make sure he had heard correctly. As he looked at him, he realised that it was only to reassure, they both knew they were alone in this disaster. Their leader sent all of those who still had a family waiting for them home, which Grantaire was extremely grateful for, alas none of Les Amis moved. Not even those who had significant others or families.
Soon enough, maybe too soon, the soldiers came back. He sighed, ready to head back in, but before he could even stand up, Gavroche was out there, unprotected.
Grantaire was chocking.
No. Not Gavroche.
He couldn't look.
He heard Courfeyrac and Combeferre's distant screams.
He felt the first shot through his very bones, but the kid was still singing some dumb revolutionary song.
The fourth one didn't miss.
Grantaire's heart was making its presence painfully known. The world around him faded as a shiver ran down his spine. He could still hear Gavroche whining about wanting a gun. He could still see him rescuing Paris' children and stealing just for the fun of it, always giving the money to those who needed it more or just throwing it where he knew it would be useful. He could see the cocky grin he wore when he told them he lived inside an elephant. He could still see his tears when a brown haired girl drew her last breath moments ago. He could still here the kid muttering "It's my sister" his voice cracking and tears in his eyes. She hadn't asked for him, her eyes entirely focused on Marius, she most likely didn't even know he was there.
At least they'd be together.
Enjolras shook him out of his trance before he ran towards another part of the barricade shouting orders.
So Grantaire did the only thing he knew he was good at. He picked up a bottle.
And then another.
And finally, the world went black and silent.
He woke up to the sound of gunshots.
His first thought was for Enjolras, his second for the little brother they'd lost and those who followed.
Bodies were everywhere, blood was painting the pavement, a crimson proof of the carnage that had happened there.
Grantaire heard gunshots in the Musain and his instinct screamed. He ran inside and got to the first floor, almost passing out at the sight of his friends. If he could've, if he had the time, he'd wait for death at their sides. But Enjolras was still missing, and the soldiers would be looking for the leader.
He ran to the second flight of stairs, his brain completely ignored as his bleeding heart was all over the place.
There he was.
Grantaire stumbled towards his Apollo, vaguely aware of the fact that he had pushed one or two guns out of his face in order to do so.
They were staring at each other when Enjolras' eyes suddenly cleared, as if he had just now figured out the whole mystery that was Grantaire. As if he understood everything. A small grin made its way on the golden haired leader's face.
"Do you permit it?" carefully asked Grantaire.
He was well aware that he didn't deserve to die beside him, but he didn't want Enjolras to be alone, he wanted to share the weight of this revolution with him.
Still smiling, Enjolras grabbed his hand tightly and pulled Grantaire beside him. He finally broke their eye contact to face the soldiers and raise his flag above their heads.
One last act of rebellion.
Grantaire's eyes never left his Apollo.
Not even when he heard the gunshots.
Not even when he felt the bullets pierce his skin.
He stayed through it all.