“On the twelfth day til Christmas, my true love gave to me—” Grantaire broke off his singing to set a small wrapped package on the kitchen table in front of Enjolras, who blinked first down at the package, then up at Grantaire.
“That is not how the song goes,” he said, slightly bemused. “And the Twelve Days of Christmas are after Christmas, not before it.”
Grantaire shrugged, sitting down across from him. “Hence why I said ‘til’ Christmas, not ‘of’ Christmas. Consider this a mini-Advent.”
Enjolras picked up the present cautiously, turning it over in his hands. “I didn’t get you anything,” he pointed out.
Grantaire waved a dismissive hand. “It’s better to give than receive, etcetera, etcetera.”
Enjolras’s eyes narrowed. “What are you up to?” he asked, suspicious.
“Can’t a guy just give his boyfriend twelve days’ of presents leading up to Christmas?” Grantaire asked, saccharine sweet.
Grantaire rolled his eyes and sighed. “And they say romance is dead.” He looked pointedly at the present. “So are you going to open it, or…”
It was Enjolras’s turn to roll his eyes. “Fine,” he huffed, hesitating for only a moment before ripping the wrapping paper off. He stared at the box before realization hit and his expression melted into a grin. “Where in the hell did you get this?” he asked.
Grantaire’s answering grin was just slightly smug. “Ebay,” he said.
Enjolras shook his head slowly, staring down at the truly hideous plastic ornament shaped like a flamingo, the words ‘FLAMINGO LAKE MOTEL, OHIO’ scrawled across it in actual, literal Comic Sans. “Why that shitty motel in Ohio would have their own Christmas ornaments—”
“Well, they have to make their money somehow, since I imagine they can’t rely on travelers getting stuck there all the time,” Grantaire said, grinning. “Besides, be nice to that motel. We had a good time there.”
“We had good sex there,” Enjolras corrected. “I don’t know if that alone is enough for it to qualify as a good time.”
But Grantaire didn’t seem remotely put off by that, as he just shrugged and said, still grinning, “Tomato, to-mah-to.”
Enjolras rolled his eyes again before his expression softened. “Well, I hesitate to say thank you for this monstrosity, but—” He leaned in and kissed Grantaire. “Thanks for the thought, at least.”
Grantaire’s smile softened as well. “Anytime,” he said.
Enjolras looked down at the ornament before looking back at Grantaire again, realization hitting. “Hang on, you said on the twelfth day until Christmas—”
Grantaire gasped and clutched his chest in mock surprise. “You actually listened to me when I talked? I could die of shock.”
Enjolras ignored him. “So does that mean you’re intending on giving me presents for the next eleven days leading up to Christmas?”
“Maybe,” Grantaire said with a smirk. “That’s for me to know and for you to find out.”
Enjolras scowled. “I thought we weren’t supposed to be spending a lot of money on each other this year,” he said, somewhat mildly, because it had been their rule every year and, to date, neither of them had yet followed it.
Still, Grantaire just snorted in response. “Who said anything about spending a lot of money?” he scoffed. “If you think I spent more than five bucks on that piece of crap, you vastly overestimate how much I love you.”
Enjolras arched an eyebrow at him. “That’s not true and you know it.”
For a moment, it looked like Grantaire might argue, but then he grinned and shrugged. “Ok, fine, then you vastly overestimate how much I’m willing to spend to make you happy,” he allowed, leaning in to kiss Enjolras’s cheek. “Happy?”
Enjolras just made a face, looking down at the ornament again before looking up at Grantaire, his tone turning slightly desperate. “And it really won’t bother you if I don’t give you anything for the 12 days until Christmas?”
“Enjolras, the sum total of everything you give me on a daily basis can’t be monetized,” Grantaire said patiently, and when Enjolras didn’t look convinced, he added, “Besides, this way you owe me one, and being in debt to me is priceless.”
“Asshole,” Enjolras muttered, even as he leaned in to kiss Grantaire lightly.
“And you love me for it,” Grantaire said, grinning.
Enjolras sighed. “Sadly, I do,” he said, going to hang the shitty ornament on their Christmas tree and already wondering what gifts, if any, were in store for him in the days to follow.
True to his worst fear, each day that followed brought a new gift from Grantaire along with a sing-song recitation from the Twelve Days of Christmas. Some of the gifts were sentimental, like a 2020 calendar with pictures of them and Les Amis and, most importantly, important birthdates, anniversaries and more already written in it; others were practical, like a pack of Enjolras’s favorite pens or stacks of Post-It notes (though even those were surprisingly sentimental, with Grantaire writing little notes to Enjolras throughout for him to discover later). Even others were just Enjolras’s favorites, like a bag of his favorite coffee or an extra large version of his favorite candy bar.
In all cases, each gift was a little reminder of how well Grantaire knew him, not to mention how much he loved him.
And with each new gift, and each passing day, Enjolras’s despair grew.
“He’s just—” he started one day, slumped at a table in the Musain next to Combeferre and Courfeyrac, who both looked equal parts concerned and amused, “he’s doing all this incredible stuff for me, and he’s giving me no means to reciprocate! It’s a power imbalance, and you know how I feel about that.”
“Ah, yes,” Courfeyrac said, rolling Enjolras’s gift that day — a roll of postcard stamps — around the table, “I can see how postcard stamps would send you into an existential tailspin.”
His sarcasm was clear, and Enjolras scowled, reaching out and snatching the roll of stamps back. “He gave them to me because he knows I want to send a bunch of Get Out the Vote postcards before the primary,” he snapped. “Because unlike you, he clearly pays attention when I talk about my plans.”
“I think,” Combeferre said calmly, before Courfeyrac could retort, “that what Courfeyrac means is that while these gifts are certainly thoughtful, they’re not anything that you should necessarily be as concerned about as you are. Grantaire knows that you love him.”
Enjolras made a face, as Courfeyrac added, “Besides, all you have to do is get him something really nice for Christmas to make up for it.”
“I got him a set of new copic markers, which is what he’s been talking about wanting for, like, six months now,” Enjolras muttered.
Courfeyrac wrinkled his nose. “Which, I mean, clearly shows that you listen to him and all, but it’s not, like, romantic , you know?”
Combeferre cleared his throat. “This nice thing is that you have a couple days still to get him something a little more sentimental, if that’s what you want to do. Or you can get him something for the Twelve Days of Christmas, when it’s actually supposed to happen, after Christmas.”
“Oh, sure, since I can’t even think of one sentimental gift to get him, I’ll just get him twelve instead!” Enjolras snapped.
Combeferre pinched the bridge of his nose. “Well, worse comes to worst, you can always use the Twelve Days of Christmas song as inspiration,” he said tiredly.
Courfeyrac grinned. “Now, there’s a thought,” he said, giving Enjolras a wink. “I mean, I know I could use eight maids a-milking, if you know what I mean.”
Combeferre rolled his eyes and smacked Courfeyrac’s arm lightly. “No one knows what you mean, and based on your tone, no one wants to,” he huffed, but Enjolras brightened.
“Actually,” he said slowly, a grin stretching across his face, “that gives me an idea.”
On Christmas Eve, Grantaire pressed a kiss to the top of Enjolras’s head before settling down next to him on the couch. “Almost done,” Enjolras said distractedly, finishing up the email he was writing before clicking ‘send’ with a decisive flourish. “And done!”
He closed his computer and set it on the coffee table before leaning against Grantaire and tilting his head up to kiss him. “Part one of my Christmas gift to you,” he murmured, “I’m not opening that again until the 26th.”
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” Grantaire said, but he was smiling. “And speaking of Christmas gifts—”
He stood, heading over to grab something out of his backpack by the door. “On the last day til Christmas, my true love gave to me—”
He broke off when he turned around, because Enjolras was no longer sitting on the couch. Instead, he was down on one knee, holding a small, wrapped box in one hand. “One golden ring and a promise to love you every day for the rest of our lives,” he finished, a little breathlessly, and Grantaire gaped at him. “Grantaire, will you marry me?”
“Are you—” Grantaire started, his voice breaking, still staring at Enjolras, eyes wide. “Are you kidding me right now?”
Enjolras half-smiled. “Well, I had eleven days of gifts to make up for, so—”
“Are you fucking kidding me?!” Grantaire half-shouted, looking absolutely town between exasperation and exhilaration.
Enjolras’s smile widened. “Why, what did you get me?” he asked innocently.
Grantaire almost threw the gift he had in his hand at him. “A fucking phone case because you keep breaking your stupid fucking phone, you stupid, idiotic—”
“Is that a no, then?” Enjolras asked mildly.
Grantaire made a noise of despair in the back of his throat. “Of course it’s not a fucking no, you—” He grabbed Enjolras and yanked him to his feet before closing what little space remained between them and kissing him soundly. After a moment, he pulled away just far enough to tell Enjolras, “Yes, I’ll marry your stupid, idiotic ass.”
Enjolras laughed, the sound cut off when Grantaire kissed him again.
When they broke apart again, Enjolras finally handed the small box to Grantaire, who tore the wrapping paper off and opened it to reveal, just as Enjolras had said, a golden ring, which he took out of the box to slide onto Grantaire’s finger. Grantaire held his hand up, watching the light from the Christmas tree reflect off the ring, a smile full of something like wonder spreading across his face. “I love you,” he said.
“I know,” Enjolras said, leaning in to kiss Grantaire’s forehead. “I love you, too.”
He wrapped his arms around Grantaire and rested his head lightly against his shoulder for a moment before saying, “Not to ruin the mood or anything, but can I actually get that phone case you got me? I really do need one.”
Grantaire pushed him away, looking exasperated. “Well, of course you can,” he huffed, shoving the package at Enjolras, “but it’s not like it means the same now.” But even his exasperation was short lived as he caught sight of the ring on his finger, his smile returning in full force. “And now I’m gonna go call, like, everyone we know, and tell them the good news.”
He kissed Enjolras once more before disappearing into their bedroom, and Enjolras grinned in a particularly self-satisfied way and sat down on the couch to unwrap the phone case. But as he started to unwrap it, he heard a strange rattling coming from inside, and his brow furrowed.
He opened the case and shook it, eyes widening in surprise as a golden ring rolled out. “Are you kidding me?” he asked aloud, holding the ring in the palm of his hand.
Grantaire poked his head out of the bedroom, wearing a self-satisfied grin of his own. “Merry Christmas,” he said, and Enjolras just shook his head and slid the ring on his own finger.
“Yeah,” he said, standing and crossing to his fiancé to kiss him. “It sure is.”