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sorry seems to be the hardest word

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Their first fight as a couple is rough.

They’d been riding on the high of finally getting their act together and starting a relationship that they hadn’t really been arguing for weeks, so when the dam breaks, when it finally does, it’s about something ridiculous, about takeout, actually, and it’s awful. Enjolras yells and Grantaire screams, and they both say awful things about each other that they don’t really mean, and Grantaire ends up storming out of the apartment.

He ends up in the park and rounds through it twice, even though it’s freezing and he’d left without his hoodie, because the cold air helps to clear his mind. When his fingers start feeling numb from the cold even though he has them tucked in the pockets of his jeans, he starts walking back home, already slowly rehearsing the Not-Apology he is going to give Enjolras in his head.

They do the Not-Apology thing a lot. Enjolras would say something at one of the Les Amis meetings, Grantaire would say something contrary, they would argue, and after the meeting, they would go up to each other and one of them would start to Not Apologise. It generally involves a lot of pretending that many things weren’t said, but hey, it’s a system that works, and Grantaire is not about to diss it.

He isn’t expecting to go back home to find Enjolras in Grantaire’s room —theirs, actually— packing his suitcase, heaving sobs as he does.

“What the fuck?” Grantaire says, and Enjolras turns over, startled.

“I’m packing,” Enjolras says, and hiccups. “I’m moving back to my room. I just need a few more minutes.”

Enjolras is moving back into his room, which is just down the hall, actually, but what. Grantaire blinks. He shifts to lean against the door jamb, knees feeling a little weak, because- “What the fuck?”

Enjolras wipes the back of his hand across his face. “We fought,” he says, sniffling a little.

“We fight all the time,” Grantaire says, but it’s evidently the wrong thing to say because Enjolras’ face crumples as he starts to cry again. “Are you- Are you breaking up with me?”

“We fought,” Enjolras repeats.

“What the fuck?” He wants to go up to Enjolras, wants to pull him into a hug and rub his back and whisper soothing words until he stops crying. Why is Enjolras crying? “We’ve had worst fights.”

“We fought and you left,” Enjolras says, and drops down onto the bed. “And then you came back. I didn’t think you’d come back.”

“Of course I came back,” Grantaire exclaims. “Why wouldn’t I come back? Enjolras.”

Enjolras’ shoulders start shaking with the effort it’s taking him to stop from sobbing and Grantaire gives up, moves from where he’s leaning against the door jamb to sit down next to Enjolras and wrap an arm around his shoulder. Enjolras responds by pressing his face into Grantaire’s neck.

“I was angry, and you were angry, and you left, and you’ve never left in the middle of an argument before and I didn’t think you’d want me to still be here when you came back, because we fought and you left, and that means this isn’t working, doesn't it?”

“Christ, no,” Grantaire says, and presses a kiss to Enjolras’ forehead. “This is how it goes - sometimes we fight, and then someone apologises, or Not Apologises, if we’re going to be technical about it. And sometimes we’re going to have fights that are really stupid, and I’ll leave because I’m an idiot, but then I’ll come back, I’ll always come back, and we’ll do the Not Apologising thing. Just because we have one fight as a couple doesn’t mean that the relationship isn’t working.”

Enjolras sniffles and then pulls away from where he’s presses up against Grantaire to stare at him. “Well, how was I supposed to know that?”

It hits Grantaire then. “You’ve never done this before,” he says, a little stunned. “You’ve never been in a relationship before.”

“Never,” Enjolras confirms quietly, and then looks away from Grantaire to stare at the ground.

“Okay,” Grantaire says.

“Okay?” Enjolras asks.

“Okay,” Grantaire says. “From now on, I’m going to try very hard not to leave when we fight, but if I do, you can expect that I will come back. It doesn’t matter how bad the fight it, or how many mean things we yell at each other, I’m always, always going to come back.” He reaches out to gently tip Enjolras’ chin up so that he’s staring right into Enjolras’ eyes. “I’m always going to come back because I love you.”

Enjolras’ eyes widen. “R-”

“Shh,” Grantaire says, and presses his finger to Enjolras’ lips to silence him. “Don’t say anything now. I don’t need you to say it back just because I said it. I just wanted you to know.” He smiles. “I love you, and no amount of fights is ever going to make me want you to pack your suitcase and move back into your room. Do you know how long it took me to get you to move in here? Years.”

Enjolras manages a smile at that.

“Right, so I can’t really remember what we were arguing about just now, so I can’t properly Not Apologise,” Grantaire says, because he has vague recollections about them talking about the takeout menu and the mess in the living room and then about overtime hours, but nothing really stands out. “But whatever it is, it was dumb, and I take back all the bad things I said. Okay?”

Enjolras stares pointedly at the finger Grantaire still has pressed against his lips. Grantaire removes it.

“Okay,” Enjolras says, and it’s ridiculous how even with red-rimmed eyes and tears streaking down his face, he still looks gorgeous to Grantaire. “R, if I say it back, will you believe me?”

Grantaire smiles, feeling a rush of affection for Enjolras. “Maybe.”

Enjolras frowns a little at that. “What if I said it tomorrow? Will you believe me then?” he asks seriously.

“Maybe,” Grantaire repeats.

“Okay,” Enjolras says, and leans his head against Grantaire’s shoulder. “What if I said it really often? Would that help? Because I think I’m going to have to say it really often. I’m not good at keeping things to myself.”

Grantaire huffs a soft laugh and laces his fingers through Enjolras’. “You’re really, really not.”

“I’m going to say it now,” Enjolras warns him.

Grantaire smiles and squeezes his hand.

Enjolras does.