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The Ghost of You

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Grantaire figures out why he got such an amazing deal on his new apartment about four hours after he walks through the door. He didn’t have much stuff to move in, so Feuilly was gone after however long it takes to quote the Princess Bride all the way up to Miracle Max. Grantaire was up until about 4am packing (because he didn’t start until midnight), so Grantaire groans, grabs one cheap bottle of wine, and flops onto his bare floor because everything else seems too far away, toasting himself with the entire bottle. It’s a celebration, he’s allowed to drink.

“Here’s to a roof over my head,” Grantaire says.

His wine bottle shatters. The glass erupts outwards in a burst of impossible energy, and Grantaire shouts, trying to somehow shield himself from getting cut or getting shards embedded in his skin. The red wine soaks him, splashing onto the hardwood floor, and Grantaire hisses from the pain – glass has definitely gotten itself into his arm. And possibly his hand. This is not going to be good.

“Oh for fuck’s sake,” Grantaire groans, and tries to find a cloth to clean up the floor. He can hear pipes rattling, or something banging – there’s just lots of ominous stuff that makes him think he needs to contact the landlord, except then he remembers there was a weird deal about that when he rented the place. Absurdly cheap rent, and the landlord is responsible for absolutely nothing.

When he’s finally found the right box, even if it’s bath towels instead of rags, he looks back at the pool of red wine. It has somehow shifted to spell, GET OUT

“Listen, can this wait?” Grantaire asks the air. “I need to sleep.”

After a moment, the wine slips across the floor. I’M HAUNTING YOU

“I get that,” Grantaire says. “I’m just so fucking tired. I’m so tired that a ghost just blew up my wine bottle and I’m not even scared. We can pick this up tomorrow. I’ll stay in for it and everything. Right now I want to get the glass out of my arm – oh yeah, thanks for that, asshole – and sleep, and then you can haunt me. Okay?”

It takes a moment, but the wine moves again to read, Eight hours. It’s not even all capital letters now, using punctuation and everything.

“I’ll take it,” Grantaire says.

There’s a sudden burst of ice cold lightning jolting across Grantaire’s arm, and Grantaire fights back the urge to scream at the blistering pain, but it lasts for barely a gasp or two. When it’s over, there’s not a single sliver of glass stuck in his skin. It still hurts, and it’s still bleeding, but the glass was so tiny that there’s really no harm done.

“Huh,” Grantaire says, looking from his arm to the little wine puddle. He hesitates, but says, “I’m Grantaire, by the way.”

The wine just sits there, quivering, like it keeps almost shifting but just can’t commit.

“That’s okay, we can do that tomorrow,” Grantaire says, and starts dragging himself towards the bedroom. “Do me a favor and pour yourself down the drain.”

As Grantaire shuts the bedroom door, he can hear a gentle splash of liquid sloshing into the sink, and can’t help it. He smiles.

---

Grantaire wakes up to the sound of every single faucet in the bathroom turning on at full-blast, the pipes thumping from calling on that much hot water at the same time. The heater bursts on, baseboard system rattling to life, and Grantaire looks over the mass of blankets on top of him to the clock with blurry eyes to see that it is exactly eight hours after he got into bed.

“Okay, let’s do this,” Grantaire says, and yawns, stretching out tight muscles before getting out of bed.

The bathroom door bursts open, bashing against the wall so hard that Grantaire winces because he’s pretty sure the doorknob chipped the paint off the walls.

Grantaire obliges his wine ghost and shuffles into the bathroom. Thankfully, all the drains are open, so there’s no boiling tub of water waiting to slosh all over him.

Instead, there are words appearing on the already steamed-up mirror.

His ghost writes, You seem sensible, so I will be straightforward. The handwriting is severe, slanting, and just as quickly as it appeared, it vanishes into more steam and condensation.

Meanwhile, Grantaire is incredibly glad he doesn’t wear a shirt to bed, because by now he’d probably have already sweated through the damn thing. When he walks over to the window to try and open it, the pane won’t budge, and the toilet seat rattles a warning. “I just want some air, for fuck’s sake,” he says.

I need the steam, his ghost writes.

“Oh. That makes sense,” Grantaire says, and stops trying to pry the window open. He figures it’s more polite to go stand in front of the bathroom mirror, so he moves carefully over the very warm (and ugly) tile floor. “So you want me to leave. Why?”

The ghost writes, Safety. Yours, and the safety of

Grantaire waits the ghost out.

of something important and dangerous.

“No offense, but the most dangerous thing I’ve encountered so far is you,” Grantaire says. “And I appreciate your concern, but I can take care of myself – and can you turn down the heat in the rest of the apartment? You’re going to melt some of my stuff.”

It takes a moment, but the baseboard heaters shut off.

“Thank you,” Grantaire says politely, and figures hey, why not. He grabs his toothbrush, and starts opening drawers to figure out where he put the toothpaste. “So, if I’m understanding this right, you’re trying to haunt me out of what is by far the best deal on rent that I could find in the entire city, because you think something somewhere is dangerous.” When no words appear on the mirror, he shrugs, and puts toothpaste on the toothbrush. “Is this mysterious thing that’s a hazard to my safety supernatural, such as yourself?”

NO appears so quickly that Grantaire nearly jumps. This is very real and very dangerous.

“Is it what killed you?” Grantaire asks.

Again, the ghost takes a moment before writing, I don’t know. The last word is crossed out, and then above it, the ghost corrects to, I don’t REMEMBER.

“We can figure that out later, then,” Grantaire says, because that might be what would get his great but cheap apartment’s ghost infestation problem solved. He takes a deep breath, and looks directly at the mirror, somehow feeling like he’s looking the ghost in the eye. “But here’s the situation. I need to live here, and I know you aren’t going to find some paranormal method to kick me out, and fuck knows you can’t scare me away because I already know you’re not that kind of person.”

What makes you so sure? the ghost writes.

“Because in vino veritas, my friend. You poured yourself down the sink when I asked. You ghost-magicked away the glass in my arm. You’re nice,” Grantaire says, grinning.

I’M NOT NICE the ghost writes.

Grantaire laughs. “Oh come off it, you’re a fucking sweetheart, don’t think I couldn’t tell you tucked me in last night. I barely managed to drag myself into bed but I woke up nice and toasty in a blanket cocoon-”

The mirror cracks in the corner, a tight burst of spiderwebbing lines that he can only assume are from ghost anger.

“Fine, you’re a big scary ghost, consider me suitably frightened,” Grantaire says, and looks down at his waiting toothbrush. “Okay, give me the exposition while I brush my teeth.”

It takes a minute for the ghost to realize Grantaire isn’t joking. But, eventually, words start appearing in the condensation again.

I don’t know who I am or what happened to me but I know I’m supposed to protect this. I know it’s important, and I know it’s dangerous to you because other people are looking for it. I don’t know who but I just KNOW. I scared away six people before you.

“No wonder this place was dirt cheap,” Grantaire says around the toothbrush, bemused. “I thought it was a scam, but no, it’s just haunted.”

You need to leave because I have to protect Thing and I don’t trust you, I only trust my feelings or

When the ghost doesn’t write anything else, Grantaire raises his eyebrows. “Are you still there?”

COMBEFERRE explodes onto the mirror, followed almost immediately by COURFEYRAC, like the ghost slapped two hands down on the mirror and each name was already imprinted.

“I have no idea what that means,” Grantaire says.

FIND THEM

“These are people?” Grantaire asks, and gets a checkmark in the lower right corner as an answer. And since, again, he’ll probably get rid of his infestation (and he is really curious now), Grantaire shrugs. “Okay, where should I start?”

???????

“I can’t tell if that’s frantic confusion or an attempt at conveying ‘are you seriously asking me that’ so I’m going to go with the first one,” Grantaire says.

The ghost marks a very big X next to the check.

So scary,” Grantaire says.

The mirror cracks a little more.

“You’re going to run out of writing space if you keep that up,” Grantaire says, unimpressed. “Okay, new deal. I find these two C people, and you stop trying to kick me out. I’m not kidding, ghost, I need to keep this place. You are more than welcome to hang around and we can even be roommates, but I stay. Period. And in return, I’ll help you figure this out. Agreed?”

Agreed, the ghost writes.

“Good,” Grantaire says. “Now get out. I don’t care if you’re dead, you don’t watch me shower.”

The way all of the water shuts off immediately with a squeak feels weirdly like the equivalent of a ghost blush. Quickly following the ghost blush, there’s a careful knock once, twice, on the other side of the now-closed bathroom door.

“Ghosts are not cute, get a hold of yourself,” Grantaire mutters to himself, and gets in the shower.

---

Combeferre and Courfeyrac aren’t exactly easy to find, but he manages it. After a week of working on commissions and dealing with a curious talkative poltergeist who has already broken every single one of Grantaire’s (two) coffee mugs, he comes across their names in association with an article about a protest. Someone named Enjolras dominates the article, but Combeferre and Courfeyrac are in there, as well as the name of their organization.

There’s a huge webpage devoted to their organization that fights for all sorts of social and political reform. There’s a blog associated with it as well. Some of the rhetoric on the site is a little bit…extreme, particularly from whoever Enjolras is, but otherwise they seem like decent enough people. Naïve, but decent.

There are no pictures of Combeferre and Courfeyrac, but there’s a welcoming invitation for their weekly meeting that night.

It is quickly becoming apparent that his ghost has no fucking clue about anything to do with being a ghost. He can throw shit and make stuff explode and light things on fire just fine, but it all falls apart the second Grantaire asks, “Can you come with me, or are you stuck in the apartment?”

Because Grantaire has spent far too much time communicating with his ghost and is not at all willing to sit around in a sauna so he can talk via mirrors, he dumped an entire box of sugar onto a cookie sheet so his ghost can just write in that. It’s comparatively practical, for a makeshift ghost communication device.

I don’t know, the ghost writes.

“You’ve never even tried?” Grantaire asks, baffled.

I have a duty to keep people and Thing safe. Everything else seemed irrelevant. The ghost is surprisingly firm on that last period, pushing down hard enough that the pan moves a little.

“Go take a walk, then,” Grantaire says, curious.

In the past few days, some very strange rules have somehow been enacted. The ghost always taps on a door to signal entry or exit, leaves Grantaire alone when he’s painting (or so Grantaire assumes), and is just overall a generally patient, polite, and weirdly clean roommate. Grantaire had spilled some sugar when he was first inventing their little makeshift writing device and what sugar he’d spilled had been swept and dumped down the sink before it even occurred to Grantaire to do it. Meanwhile, Grantaire always announces his intentions on where to go before he does it, and keeps the sugar tray in his line of sight at all times unless he actually wants to be alone.

So far, the ghost roommate thing has been going bizarrely well, really.

His ghost knocks on the inside of the front door, indicating his presence, and then, nothing.

Grantaire makes a considering noise, and stands up, walking over to open the front door. It takes a minute, but eventually, there’s another knock. It comes from right next to their communication sugar pan.

“Well, that’s one question answered,” Grantaire says, and shuts the door. “Do you have any specific questions you want me to ask them?”

Who am I? is carefully traced into the sugar.

Grantaire sighs. “Look, let’s not get our hopes up here, okay? All you have are two names. For all we know, they could’ve stolen your bike when you were seven and you just hold a grudge for a very long time,” he says.

If I remember them when I’m DEAD, they’re important, his ghost writes, and apparently that’s the end of that conversation because his ghost sweeps the sugar to a smooth wordless white sheet and pushes it gently away from Grantaire, which Grantaire assumes is the ghost’s way of asking for privacy.

“I’ll be back soon, hopefully with good news,” Grantaire says, and leaves his ghost in peace.

---

Combeferre and Courfeyrac’s club meets up at a bar called the Corinthe, and when he walks in it’s to hearing someone shout the name Chetta, and really, that is just too many Cs for him to deal with. His ghost will probably be named Coco. But, he has a mission here, so he steps inside and heads towards the bar, smiling as charmingly as possible at the bartender. “Good evening,” he says. “I’m looking for Combeferre and Courfeyrac.”

“They’re the big table to the right over there,” the woman says, and points. “Courfeyrac’s the one standing up and laughing loudly, Combeferre’s the one sitting down and laughing quietly.”

“That describes every single person at the table,” Grantaire says, but when the bartender raises one beautiful ominous eyebrow, Grantaire chooses his battles. He buys himself a drink and heads towards the group.

Grantaire has been considering his opening line since this entire thing started. Just walking up and saying ‘hey guys have any of your loved ones died recently’ seems a little too insensitive, but just about everything else seems almost like lying. So, he has his opening gambit. It’s very clever.

He pulls out an empty chair from a nearby empty table, and sits on the edge of their territory, watching.

Obviously, they see him just sitting there staring at them like they’re a gaggle of puppies falling on top of each other. This is also part of the plan. One of them grins at him, and says, “Hey! Are you here for the meeting?”

“Sort of,” Grantaire says. “I’m here to find Combeferre and Courfeyrac.”

“Then congratulations, you’ve found us,” the man says, and points to the person sitting next to himself. “That’s Combeferre, and I’m Courfeyrac, and over here is Jehan, and-”

“It’s nice to meet you all, but I was sent here to meet with Combeferre and Courfeyrac. In private, preferably,” Grantaire says.

Many a glance is exchanged between the group, but eventually Combeferre stands up and motions for Grantaire to follow him and Courfeyrac into a back room.

If Grantaire was really thinking, he probably wouldn’t just cheerily follow two people into a dark room after his ghost kept on talking about how dangerous things were. But nope, here he is, wondering how to convince someone that yes, ghosts are real, and yes, one sent me to talk to you.

The door closes behind Grantaire, and he flicks the lights on, and finally sees the one he’s pretty sure is Combeferre has a gun pointed at Grantaire’s face.

“Wow, you guys are shit at recruiting,” Grantaire says, because holy shit. His heart is working overtime, frantic beats that Grantaire manages to keep out of his expression. He holds up steady hands. The light bulb flickers. “Listen, I genuinely have no fucking clue what you guys are up to, and to be honest I really don’t even care. I’m just here to ask some, uh. Well, kind of weird questions. For my roommate.”

“Your roommate,” Courfeyrac echoes, disbelief clear across his face. “You’re facing down the barrel of a gun like it’s nothing and-”

“I’m used to angry cops and schizophrenics with tiny knives coming after me for my shoes. Trust me, I’m not pleased with this situation, but I’m not going to freak out either,” Grantaire says. After a moment of consideration he sighs, dropping his hands. “You know what, I’m just going to ask outright if you know anyone who died recently.”

The two Cs share a quick look, and then Courfeyrac nods, expression grim, and Grantaire freaks the fuck out because that is not the expression of someone interested in answering questions about ghosts, that is the expression of someone about to blow Grantaire’s brains out, oh god, his ghost wasn’t kidding about dangerous-

The gun drops out of Combeferre’s hand, clunking to the floor.

Grantaire is really glad the safety’s still on.

“That’s a yes, then,” Grantaire says. His voice is a little bit squeaky.

“Talk,” Combeferre says, looking shaken, almost nervous.

“I moved into an apartment that has a ghost in it,” Grantaire says. “The ghost can’t remember anything about themself, but somehow they remembered your names, so I’m hunting you down to bring back so you can talk it over and-”

“Holy shit. I told you he’d wake up eventually, I told you. We fix this, and he comes back,” Courfeyrac says, grabbing Combeferre’s arm. “He won’t wake up because he’s not in his body!”

“We can’t rush to conclusions,” Combeferre says, voice strained but firm. “Anyone could come up with this story, and it’s absurd. There’s absolutely no proof whatsoever-”

“Which is why I want you to come talk to my ghost,” Grantaire says.

Weirdly enough, they both just nod and look at him expectantly. Combeferre picks his gun up, casually as you please, and tucks it into, well, something. Grantaire can’t tell if he’s got a shoulder holster or what, and he’s pretty sure Combeferre isn’t interested in giving him time to investigate.

“We would’ve heard about a ghost in Enjolras’ old apartment, so you’ll have to lead us,” Courfeyrac says, and nods to the side, probably indicating the world outside of this tiny dangerous room. “Can we bring-”

“Let’s not push, okay? My ghost is kind of, uh.” Grantaire hesitates. “Reactionary. And unwelcoming. I’ve been keeping people away ever since I moved in, in case the ghost decides to start blowing things up. Again. He kind of has a temper.”

Combeferre and Courfeyrac do that sharing a look thing again – well, a Look is more like it – and then Courfeyrac says, “Yeah, we definitely want to meet the ghost.”

---

The minute Grantaire opens his front door, he can tell this is a bad idea. The biggest reason is the sharp chill in the air. What had previously been a comfortable yet affordable heating temperature is now so cold Grantaire hisses.

But that’s not what makes Combeferre and Courfeyrac behind him gasp.

What few belongings Grantaire has are wrecked. All of his dishes are shattered on the floor, the cushions of his couch are tossed across the room, his books are in complete disarray and were clearly thrown against the wall, since there are dents in the plaster directly above where they all lay in a messy pile. Silverware is embedded in a wall.

“Maybe we shouldn’t be here,” Courfeyrac whispers, nervous. Combeferre makes a noise that sounds like it’s some sort of agreement.

And no, that isn’t happening. Grantaire went through way too much work for this.

He takes one step into the apartment and shouts, “We had a deal, ghost!” He points towards Combeferre and Courfeyrac, who are hovering cautiously in the doorway. “See? Look. I brought the two guys you remembered. Why the fuck did you destroy my stuff?!”

Everything is very quiet.

Sugar,” Grantaire commands.

There’s a somehow awkward-sounding sifting noise that makes Grantaire roll his eyes as he storms over to the sugar pan, scowling as he sits on the floor next to it. “This better be good,” he warns.

I remembered, his ghost writes.

Grantaire sighs. “Good for you, but that still doesn’t excuse this. I can’t afford to replace my stuff, that’s why I’ve been drinking coffee out of wine glasses ever since you had a temper tantrum, you inconsid-”

“May we enter?” Combeferre calls out.

Grantaire has no idea whether or not the ghost is okay with that, so he settles for the few forms of rules and communication he has. Frowning, he knocks twice on the wood floor, asking his ghost for their location.

It takes a moment, but eventually there’s two knocks directly across from Grantaire, the sugar pan between them.

“I can send them away if you don’t want to see them,” Grantaire says quietly. “I’m still pissed at you, but, well, remembering stuff when you’re a ghost probably isn’t fun. I can understand, although forgiving might take a while. Anyway, point is, I can have them come back later if you want some time.”

Eventually, his ghost writes, They can come in.

“You’re cleared for entry,” Grantaire calls out, and the two take cautious steps inside, automatically shivering, stunned by the previously unnoticed temperature change. You have to get through the door to feel it, for some reason. Grantaire’s starting to think his ghost’s sphere of influence is limited to only inside of the apartment.

Courfeyrac is the first one to walk over towards Grantaire and their absurd communication sugar pan. When it starts to shake, Grantaire holds up a hand and says, “Hold on, the ghost’s getting antsy. What do you need?”

“I need-” Courfeyrac begins.

“Not you,” Grantaire says, waving him off. He keeps his eyes on the sugar pan. “Seriously, I can’t help unless you tell me what’s going on.”

The pan shakes. And then it vibrates, chittering against the hardwood, sugar flying out onto the floor.

And then it bursts into flames high enough to reach the ceiling. Grantaire yelps, rolling backwards. He reaches to grab Courfeyrac as well, but instead finds Courfeyrac is grabbing him, heaving Grantaire over the kitchen island as the flames bend and roar and envelop the entire wall and ceiling.

Enjolras!” Combeferre screams.

It’s stupid, but Grantaire has yet to be injured by his ghost – was healed by said ghost, in fact – so he dares to peek his head over the island’s marble counter even as Courfeyrac tells him to get down, you idiot!

There’s a figure in the flames. All Grantaire can make out is that the figure is contorted in a sharp, almost tortured pose that is undeniably a silent scream.

And Grantaire is a fucking idiot, because he thinks that is my ghost, and then he thinks my ghost is in pain, and he is so fucking stupid, he’s so stupid. He runs out from what cover the kitchen island provides and heads directly towards the flames.

“You’ve never hurt me and you’re not going to start now,” Grantaire says, fast and loud, more for his own reassurance than anything else (but also maybe a reminder to his ghost, just in case). He takes a deep panicky breath, and shoves his arm through the flames, reaching towards the shadowy figure in the middle of the flames.

The flames are not harmless.

Grantaire is tempted to scream at the pain, and the heat, watching the sleeve of his shirt begin to burn off and his very much dominant and needed hand start to burn, but his ghost turns, still posed in agony. Grantaire grits his teeth and knows his hand is completely fucked and considers trying to find a god and praying to it as he chokes out, “Please.”

His ghost reaches-

Someone grabs Grantaire and drags him away from the flames, shouting something inaudible over the roar of the fire.

“But the pain,” Grantaire objects, struggling weakly for a moment because his ghost, and passes out.

---

Grantaire doesn’t have many friends.

Specifically, he has one friend. One who is an obscenely busy do-gooder who does try to hang out with Grantaire when he can and is as wonderful and loyal as you could ever even dream of finding in a friend, but there’s a reason Grantaire hasn’t had to introduce his ghost to anyone. Or explain his ghost. He’s had a week of almost nonstop conversation with his ghost – his intelligent, interesting, secretly adorable poltergeist of a ghost – and it isn’t exactly a mind-blowing revelation to Grantaire that he’s kind of gotten attached.

The ‘sticking a hand into a massive raging fire destroying his apartment’ thing was a surprise, though.

He wakes up in a hospital, and has a moment of absolute panic and oh god not again before he sees the two new acquaintances sitting next to his hospital bed whispering to each other. And then he looks down at his right arm which is coated in bandages so tight and thick that they're practically a cast.

“So what happened?” Grantaire asks. His voice is hoarse, but they twist immediately to look at him, smiling (Courfeyrac) and frowning in concern (Combeferre).

“Well, you-” Courfeyrac begins.

He’s interrupted by a frantic sourceless knocking on the wall next to Grantaire’s head.

“Holy shit, how’d the ghost get here?” Grantaire asks, baffled.

“I’m not sure, but I have a theory that Enjolras isn’t willing to test because he’s very worried about you,” Combeferre says. “At first I thought maybe it’s because his body is in this hospital, but now I think he followed us. Interestingly, he hasn’t been able to do much more than make noise and flickering lights.”

“Wait, what do you mean his body is in this hospital? How is he not buried or cremated by now?” Grantaire asks.

“Oh. Enjolras is alive,” Courfeyrac says. “He’s in a coma.”

Grantaire’s heart skips a beat.

“That must be one hell of a coma,” Grantaire says weakly, and takes a deep breath, composing himself. “What happened to him?”

Courfeyrac opens his mouth and begins to speak, but there is one very firm knock on the wall, more of a thud than a knock. It’s almost intimidating. Almost.

“Ignore that, my – he is just being obnoxious,” Grantaire says.

“He has a point, though,” Courfeyrac says. “You two seem to be, uh. Close.”

“He’s a lonely intrusive poltergeist I spent the last week with nonstop,” Grantaire says. It’s enough of an explanation; there’s no need to bring up how Grantaire has repeatedly had thoughts about his ghost being fucking adorable and how his ghost has done sweet things like tucking Grantaire in and fixing the water pressure and then they've been playing Pictionary and telling each other horrible puns ad oh shit, oh fuck are they flirting? Oh god, are they dating? What the fuck. What the fucking fuck.

But no, that’s impossible. No people dating could possibly get in fights like they do. When you end up arguing with someone even when they’re an incorporeal being, you know that isn’t something that could work in the flesh even if his ghost (Enjolras?) woke up from his coma and oh god he needs to stop thinking about this right now.

“My point is, maybe that’s something to talk about later,” Courfeyrac says, and smiles. “How’s the arm feeling?”

“Oh shit,” Grantaire says, horror making his throat tight and dry. “Oh fuck. I need my hand. I really, really need my hand.”

Combeferre gives him a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry, the doctor said that you’ll be okay with treatment and some physical therapy, and in a few weeks-”

“Great, but I need my hand now,” Grantaire snaps, and tries to flail but just gets his hand caught in the completely pointless sling they’ve put him in, it’s his hand, why would he need a sling? He’s going to panic, he can barely breathe, because he just lost his form of income. If he can’t paint, he has no money and he hasn’t been able to build up any kind of savings yet and oh god he needs money, he needs to-

“Musichetta can always use some help around the bar,” Courfeyrac says out of absolutely nowhere. Combeferre is giving Grantaire an intrigued look that he doesn’t like at all. “I mean, I saw the wreckage of your apartment, you’re an artist or something, right? That’s why you’re freaking out? This is an easy solution while your hand heals.”

The ghost, who is Enjolras and Grantaire needs to get used to that, knocks a few times on the wall. It tells Grantaire nothing, beyond that he’s here. And really, maybe that’s exactly what he’s trying to say.

And it occurs to Grantaire that Enjolras really is here, isn’t he?

Grantaire is very much not left-handed, but he makes do when it comes to throwing the blankets off of himself. And really, every other part of his body is just fine, so the way Combeferre and Courfeyrac make protesting noises is ridiculous. “Back off, seriously, I just want to see my ghost – I mean, Enjolras’ body,” he says.

The poltergeist version of no gets thudded into the wall immediately.

“See the nice thing here is that you don’t get to tell me what to do,” Grantaire tells ghost Enjolras, scowling at the air around where the thud came from, but Combeferre refuses to let him out of the bed.

“You’re injured and haven’t been officially released just yet,” Combeferre says. “Let’s not rush into anything.”

“Says the man who nearly shot me about fifty seconds after we met,” Grantaire bites out.

One of the nearby lights explodes in poltergeist rage.

Fine, I’ll stay, calm down,” Grantaire says, and settles back in the hospital bed.

For a long moment, there’s silence.

“It took at least five minutes,” Combeferre mutters.

The remaining lights in the room flicker.

Grantaire groans, and resigns himself to waiting.

---

“Do you have anyone to watch over you for the next twenty four hours?” The doctor asks.

“I have a roommate,” Grantaire says. “Trust me, I will be watched over.”

His ghost knocks twice on the hospital bed near Grantaire’s hip. There might’ve been a little bit of contact with Grantaire’s jeans. It’s hard to tell when you’re dealing with someone who happens to be incorporeal.

Regardless, it makes Grantaire smile.

Courfeyrac makes a squeaking noise and says, “Oh my god.”

---

“Can he text us?” Courfeyrac asks. “I mean, we still have his old phone, I can bring it tomorrow. Can he even type?”

“It seems to be more difficult. He’s a lot better at messing around with an object than using it – you know, break things, make stuff float, bend things, cut things in half,” Grantaire says, and motions to the now-charred sugar pan. It is very, very glazed. “Just kind of shifting things, like making lines in sugar. Take my paint, for example. He can move the paint itself around plenty, but getting paint on a brush and then putting the brush on something and painting on that is – okay, basically typing is detail work and he’s better at blowing shit up. Give him morse code and a telegraph and you’d probably be good.”

The cutlery drawer rattles.

Grantaire sighs. “But, he’ll try. For you.”

“How did you get that from shaking silverware?” Combeferre asks, obviously fascinated.

“I’ve done nothing but talk to a poltergeist for a week straight,” Grantaire says, and shrugs. “I just kind of get it by now. Knocks and flickering mean yes or no, rattling is sort of objecting, sifting noise means he wants to say something more complicated and he’s waiting to write it out.”

Again, the cutlery drawer rattles.

He frowns, and looks over at the drawer. “Oh, right. We do need a new one, don’t we.”

“Why sugar?” Combeferre asks.

“Because I had some,” Grantaire says. “We didn’t exactly go high tech here.”

“You should consider an instrument of some type, then,” Combeferre says. “A piano, maybe.”

Pianos cost a lot of money.

“Maybe a kazoo?” Grantaire offers. He could afford a kazoo.

There is a very firm no thump against the wall, and a hint of ominous shadows on the wall.

“Yes, yes, big scary ghost,” Grantaire says, waving him off.

“I’ll bring some more sugar tomorrow, too,” Courfeyrac says, and looks into the empty spaces of Grantaire’s very wrecked apartment. “I’d like to talk to you tomorrow, Enjolras. I think it could really help everyone involved in this.” He takes a moment, and then adds, “Everyone involved.”

The two-knock yes comes from right next to Courfeyrac, and somehow it manages to sound sheepish. Well, if anyone could make a knock on the floor sound sheepish, it would be a ghost.

“For the love of god, Enjolras, please behave,” Combeferre says, and immediately gets playfully shoved backwards. It makes Combeferre roll his eyes, lips twitching slightly, and say, “Well, at least someone’s enjoying this.”

The entire room freezes, in every single way. Combeferre and Courfeyrac look completely still and…and something, and the temperature drops so quickly that it physically hurts Grantaire’s wrapped hand. He hisses, grimacing in pain.

And just as quickly, the room rockets back up to a decent temperature, albeit a little bit warmer than Grantaire would prefer. Or maybe that’s just the shock of the change.

Combeferre and Courfeyrac don’t go back to normal quite as quickly. They just stand there, looking at each other and communicating silently about something that’s obviously very important.

Courfeyrac recovers first, reaching out to get a gentle grip on Combeferre’s sleeve and lightly tugging him into action, moving towards the door. “I’ll see you both tomorrow,” Courfeyrac says softly.

Just before the door closes, Grantaire hears Combeferre start to freak the fuck out, saying, “Oh fuck, he’s. Fuck-”

The last word is almost a scream.

It finally makes the fact his ghost isn’t dead actually click into place. Grantaire is too tired in too many ways to really deal with this, but there’s at least one thing that is made very clear now. His ghost isn’t his ghost.

“Enjolras,” Grantaire finally says. When there’s no reply, Grantaire squeezes his eyes shut, and repeats, “Enjolras. That’s your name. I’m calling you by your name, and I will keep on doing it, because you’re some guy named Enjolras, and those two are your best friends, and, god, you aren’t fucking dead. You probably have a family-”

Finally, his ghost, Enjolras, replies with a firm hard thud of no, hard enough that the few things Grantaire put back on top of the kitchen counter rattle.

“Well you obviously have friends who love you, and miss you, and you shouldn’t just be, fuck, what do you even call this? You’re just fucking haunting me,” Grantaire says, and shuts his eyes, grabbing at his hair with the one hand he has left. “People care about you, okay, you can’t just hang around.”

A blanket gently drapes itself over Grantaire’s shoulders, warm and cozy.

“You can’t do this, Enjolras,” Grantaire says, almost a whisper.

The blanket just wraps around Grantaire tightly, the fabric just barely brushing over his cheek.

Grantaire has no idea what he’s feeling, other than how he’s so fucking tired and god, he wants a drink so, so bad. But, of course, he hasn’t gotten to the store since Enjolras blew up his emergency wine bottle, because Grantaire has gone absolutely nowhere, because Grantaire has just been sitting around chatting with a not-dead ghost about everything and nothing.

“I’m going to bed,” Grantaire says.

He doesn’t do anything but curl up on top of his mattress, because Enjolras will turn off the lights, and Enjolras will make sure the door is locked, and Enjolras will make sure he’s warm and comfortable and safe.

Grantaire falls asleep, and wishes he wouldn’t wake up.

---

Things don’t get better.

Courfeyrac brings them sugar, and he and Enjolras have a private conversation while Grantaire takes a shower with a plastic bag wrapped around his hand and tries to figure out why he feels like crying, and he gets out of the shower horrified at the idea he’s going to have to jerk off with his left hand. Which shouldn’t be so high on his priority list. It really, really shouldn’t.

“I think,” Courfeyrac says, and pauses. They’re standing outside of the apartment, hoping Enjolras won’t hear. Courfeyrac lets out a long sigh, grief crossing his face for a moment. “Enjolras is in a coma because of something violent. If he really does remember now, he might not want to go back to living the same life as before. Like this, he’s free. No responsibilities, no obligations, all packaged in the supernatural ability to fuck shit up? I can see the appeal.”

“Just tell me how to help,” Grantaire says, hunched in on himself and blaming it on the temperature.

“We need to make him want to be alive again,” Courfeyrac says, giving Grantaire an intense look that Grantaire doesn’t like at all. “I think you could do that.”

Grantaire knows exactly what Courfeyrac is saying.

“Well, we can talk about that at our next meeting,” Courfeyrac says, back to smiling, any and all pressure gone. “Which you will be at.”

There is very obviously something very dangerous about their club’s little meetings, if Combeferre is armed and Enjolras not-quite-died from something violent that Grantaire doesn’t doubt was somehow related to their activism or whatever. Enjolras is in a coma. People are very definitely getting seriously hurt, to the point of life-threatening injuries.

Why the fuck not, it’s not like he’s doing anything else.

“Sure, I’ll be there,” Grantaire says.

Courfeyrac smiles, pats Grantaire’s shoulder, and leaves.

Grantaire is friends with Enjolras. Or something like friends, at least. They’re roommates, and they’re debate partners, and they’re fucking flirting, Grantaire knows they’re flirting. Enjolras is fascinating and intelligent and a considerate sweetheart with a horrible temper and such a sense of righteousness that Grantaire would be tempted to smack him if he wasn’t incorporeal.

Courfeyrac is basically asking him to seduce a ghost.

It would probably be easy, considering Grantaire’s pretty sure Enjolras is at least fond of him, but it still feels wrong. It feels like betrayal. Grantaire’s loyalty is to Enjolras, and while it’d be for Enjolras’ own good, that sort of manipulation doesn’t sit right. Even if that is where they end up naturally (somehow; seriously, how do you date a ghost), it’s not something Grantaire wants to do.

He just wants this to be over before it goes any deeper, because it’s just going to hurt, in the end. No matter what happens or where this could go, it's going to be painful.

So, he walks back into the apartment, locks the door behind himself, and says, “We need to talk.”

There’s two knocks on the floor next to the sugar pan, and Grantaire sits down to see there’s already a ? waiting for him.

“I don’t want you here anymore,” Grantaire says. The pipes gasp into motion and start rattling. The walls groan. Grantaire ignores it. “You’re not a ghost, Enjolras. You’re just some guy in a coma, and this…this thing between us isn’t good. Okay? This can’t happen. You don’t belong here. Just go back to the hospital and wake up, don’t -”

One of his (clean) socks shoots across the room and right into Grantaire’s mouth, so hard and so fast that it knocks him onto his back, almost choking. Something (Enjolras) keeps him pinned to the floor, and there’s a horrible, horrible screeching sound, and Grantaire sees the sugar pan scratch its way across his poor wood floor and then keep on sliding up the charred-black yet somehow fully intact wall.

The sugar drags itself up the wall, and the actual pan falls to the floor. For a moment it looks like a galaxy on the wall, tiny specks of white spiraling across the wall to eventually form one massive, wall-covering NO.

Grantaire finally manages to spit the sock out of his mouth and say, “You aren’t a ghost, Enjolras. You aren’t dead.”

The sugar snaps into an untidy STOP.

“You’re a living, breathing person, and this is just your incredibly fucked up vacation,” Grantaire says, and gets himself up to prop himself on his elbows. “It’s time for you to go home.”

Through all of this, the sugar has just been swirling across the wall, as if Enjolras is losing control of it. The faucets are all running, all of Grantaire’s furniture is banging back against the walls all over again, and it’s so fast that Grantaire almost misses it, but there’s a small why, forming over and over again.

“Because if you’re – if I’m around you for much longer, I would probably fall in love with you,” Grantaire says.

The sugar drops to the floor, and it’s entirely gravity’s fault.

Grantaire shuts his eyes. “It’s only been a week, Enjolras, and I’m. You’re not even here, you’re just some fucking force of nature with terrible puns and naïve idealism and all that passion, and you’re so sweet it makes me hurt, and ghosts shouldn’t be cute, ghosts shouldn’t be – this isn’t okay, Enjolras. This is not okay, and you need to go. It’s either you or me, and I really, really need to not go. It has to be you. No more roommates, no more games, no more conversations. No more us,” Grantaire says. “Please, Enjolras. Please.”

Everything is quiet. The apartment is still, not even the slightest creak of floorboards.

Two knocks sound out, against the charred wall, directly in front of Grantaire but still far away.

“Then it’s up to me, I guess,” Grantaire says, and stands up. He wants to just walk out the door, try and do this like ripping off a Band-Aid, sharp and brutally painful but done, but what feeble self-preservation instincts he has won’t let him. He heads into the bedroom, and grabs a bag. Everything’s still perfectly in order, what with having barely moved in, so packing is easy.

Every single source of hot water explodes into full-blast heat and steam, and there’s knocking in the bathroom, and Grantaire just shakes his head, because, no. No, he isn’t doing this.

But Enjolras is clever, and Grantaire has no choice but to walk into the bathroom to finish packing.

There’s so much writing on the mirror that Grantaire can’t even read it, and wouldn’t even if he could. He shakes his head, and says, “No. This isn’t a fucking debate, Enjolras. I’m leaving.”

The mirror explodes, and Grantaire is just familiar enough with coexisting with a poltergeist that he can tell it’s coming from the burst of ice cold air. Grantaire throws himself back barely a heartbeat before it shatters, avoiding most of the glass as it blasts outward, but it’s a small bathroom. He hits the side of the shower tub, and barely has time to gasp out oh god before he trips, and he braces himself as well as he can with his arms because oh fuck, this is going to hurt as he falls and the inevitable happens and his head hits the tile and it hurts, and he’s out.

---

The next thing he sees is light, and he feels a hand sliding through his hair, soothing and warm, and Grantaire thinks, Enjolras.

“It’s okay,” someone says, but it’s familiar. His vision is hazy, but he can finally see – he’s on his bed, and Feuilly is sitting next to him on the mattress. There’s more noise in the background, but Grantaire has difficulty even seeing Feuilly above him. “It looks like you’ve had a pretty terrible week.”

“You have no idea,” Grantaire manages to say, and passes out again.

---

He goes in and out for a while, and Feuilly is usually there, but sometimes it’s other people. When he really wakes up, it’s Combeferre.

“He woke up,” Combeferre says, because somehow he knows what Grantaire actually cares about.

Grantaire gets himself into a sitting position, wincing at the pain in his burned hand. “Is he okay?” he asks.

“We’re not sure yet, but it looks like he will be,” Combeferre says, more relaxed than Grantaire has ever seen him before. “He definitely needs physical therapy, and it looks like he might be having some motor control problems, but it’s nothing Enjolras can’t manage. It’s expected, honestly. The doctors say he’s in excellent shape, considering how long he was in a coma.”

He nods, which hurts a little, but he’s doing well enough. “What happened?”

“I’m not sure,” Combeferre says. “We got the call that Enjolras had woken up and rushed over, but there wasn’t much to do beyond watch him twitch and sleep. By then we were getting kicked out for being too large of a group, so Courfeyrac decided to go fill you in when it was his shift away from Enjolras. Since we don’t have your phone number, he had to walk over, and found the front door had exploded-”

“What the fuck,” Grantaire says. “How exploded are we talking?”

“Nothing left but a doorframe and splinters,” Combeferre says, and points out of the bedroom door. “I’ll show you when you’re up for moving around. We're fixing it. Anyway, he rushed inside to see the place was completely destroyed and was about to call the cops when he found you in the bathtub. And then he was about to call an ambulance, but your friend Feuilly somehow popped out of nowhere and took charge, said we’d treat you here and nearly punched Courfeyrac when he disagreed, leading us here.”

“God, Feuilly is the best,” Grantaire says, and reaches up to feel that yes, he has a ridiculous amount of bandages on his head now too. Just a couple more appendages and he can be a mummy.

“We’re growing pretty fond of him,” Combeferre says, amused. When Grantaire gives him a confused look, Combeferre shrugs. “A maximum number of four people can be in with Enjolras, so we’ve had a cycle going. Four in with Enjolras, one or two in with you, and one or two out and about doing what they need to do, like sleeping and eating.”

“Oh, is that all they’re doing,” Grantaire says, and tries to stretch out as much as he can comfortably. Mostly he’s just sore and has a truly horrific headache, which makes more than a little bit of sense.

“And what happened on your end?” Combeferre asks.

Grantaire laughs. “He’s a fucking poltergeist, what do you think happened?” Combeferre doesn’t look impressed, though. “Enjolras got pissed off, blew up the mirror, and I tripped and fell while dodging.”

“He didn’t push you?” Combeferre asks.

“God, no,” Grantaire says. “I don’t think he could even if he wanted to. The only time he’s ever actually moved me around was holding me on the floor, and that was more like making the air around me heavier than actually physically restraining me. It’s weird, he can do-”

“He could,” Combeferre corrects gently. “Enjolras woke up, remember?”

And that’s a good thing, isn’t it? It’s obviously a good thing, so Grantaire nods, and makes himself smile, and says, “I’m glad to hear it. So what’s Enjolras up to now?”

“He’s only awake for a couple minutes every few hours, so not very much,” Combeferre says, and Grantaire likes the blend of fondness, humor, and unbridled hope that comes across through the words. He likes Combeferre in general, really. “But he’s making remarkable progress, according to the doctors. He was awake for almost half an hour earlier today, and even managed to say hello. Well, hi, but still a hello.”

“And that’s good?” Grantaire asks.

“That’s amazing,” Combeferre says, smiling brightly. “He’s going to be okay, and it’s because of you. I can’t tell you grateful I am to have him back. We all are.”

Grantaire just keeps on smiling, and can’t decide whether or not he’s glad he woke up.

---

He’s stuck being an invalid for another couple days, with a flood of new people invading his destroyed apartment. They installed a new door for him all on their own, since the unwritten agreement with his landlord that obscenely low rent and paid utilities also came with the caveat that if shit went wrong, it was all on Grantaire.

They call themselves Les Amis, which is pretty fucking stupid since it is seriously just saying they’re a bunch of pals. Grantaire pities Musichetta. She has to deal with people walking in and saying, “Excuse me, but can you direct me to the friends?”

Then again, Grantaire picks it up fast enough, so maybe it’s not too bad.

Only Combeferre and Courfeyrac know Enjolras was his ghost. Jehan knew of a ghost in the apartment, and apparently they’d had to talk him out of trying to rent the place back when the news got out a couple of months ago. When he makes the connection between Grantaire’s fucked up apartment and injuries and the whole poltergeist thing, Grantaire suddenly has a brand new best friend.

It is very, very weird to talk about his ghost to someone who just eagerly soaks up every word and doesn’t ever doubt he’s telling the truth. It’s weird, and wonderful, and that really sums Jehan up in two words right there.

Eventually, directing people to Les Amis isn’t just Musichetta’s problem, because Courfeyrac was not remotely exaggerating when he said she was looking for help. She doesn’t care about his bandaged hand and the fact he isn’t planning to take off whatever hat he’s wearing. Taking a hat off means he show everyone that he still has bandages, and that is something Grantaire would like to avoid.

Apparently there was blood, which explains why Feuilly and Courfeyrac nearly came to blows over the hospital thing. He still feels like a mummy, but he can make a cup of coffee after she walks him through it, even with the stiff fingers.

So, he becomes a barista, with friends, and a roof over his head, and no ghost.

The only ones who seem to notice that Grantaire avoids his apartment as much as humanly possible are Combeferre and Courfeyrac, and they’re also the ones who say, “You know, Enjolras is making good progress. Maybe you should go see him.”

There’s always an excuse to not go. Grantaire is smart enough to think up one that is completely valid every single time. He’s completely exhausted (true about 90% of the time regardless of how much sleep he gets). He has work (also usually true, considering the offer usually comes when he's at the Musain). There’s painting to do (true, but not going well), there’s physical therapy to do (slightly true), there’s plans with Feuilly (true, although that excuse goes away pretty quick since Feuilly integrates himself into Les Amis almost instantaneously).

And once, when Courfeyrac gives him this look of complete disappointment but absolutely no surprise, Grantaire says, “I’m just. I’m not ready. I can’t see him. I can’t, okay?”

Courfeyrac gives him a soft, reassuring smile. “Listen to me, Grantaire. Whatever you fought about-”

“Look. Has he asked about me?” Grantaire asks sharply before that goes any farther. When Courfeyrac just frowns, Grantaire shakes his head. “I can guarantee he doesn’t remember me, then, because the last thing he saw was probably my skull leaving a trail of blood on the wall and – look. I’ll make you a deal. The second he asks, I’m there. But until then, I think it’s best for all involved if I don’t come waltzing in going, hey, remember that time you were a poltergeist and destroyed just about every single thing I own?

“That’s not the issue here,” Courfeyrac says gently.

“Okay, sure, then let’s say I ask him if he remembers the world’s most terrible game of Pictionary,” Grantaire says. “Or if he remembers that time he kept yanking the chair out from under me. Or that time he blew up my coffee cup during an argument and then did my laundry to apologize, or when he just wouldn’t shut up about Descartes even though neither of us gave a fuck about him, god, he just wanted to prove a point I can’t even remember anymore, or, or when he-”

Courfeyrac grabs him, and pulls Grantaire into quite possibly the most ferociously comforting hug of his entire life, tight and warm and somehow amazingly soothing.

“Listen to me, Grantaire,” Courfeyrac says. “Even if Enjolras doesn’t remember, even if he never remembers, you’re both the same people, and most importantly, you have time. It’s going to be okay.”

It isn’t okay.

It’s the absence of a ghost that haunts him for every fucking second he’s in his unbelievably cheap apartment with its charred corner and an endless number of dents in the wall and he still hasn’t replaced the mirror in the bathroom. He regularly fills in for anyone and everyone who can’t make it in to either of Musichetta’s places – barista at the Musain in the mornings, and then eventually as a bartender at the Corinthe at night, sleeping for four hours and waking up cold no matter how many blankets are piled on his bed.

For the first time in years, he has a life. He has friends. He has all basic necessities of life, and sometimes he’s something close to happy, but god, he can be surrounded by his friends, laughing and joking and warm and light, and still feels lonely.

And above all else, he doesn’t talk about Enjolras. He doesn’t ask about Enjolras. He doesn’t look at pictures, doesn’t watch recorded speeches, doesn’t even think of doing it. He doesn’t want to know. He doesn’t want to see. His friends tell stories, and he listens, and laughs, and smiles, and as time goes on he grows more and more certain that even if Enjolras did remember him, Grantaire wouldn’t do a damn thing about it.

---

Three and a half months after Enjolras wakes up, Grantaire walks into the Corinthe, just early enough to double-check that Musichetta doesn’t need any help. There’s enough of a disgusting drizzle of freezing rain outside that he doubts there’ll be a massive influx of visitors, but still. If he can help, he will.

Grantaire drops his coat off of his shoulders with a well-practiced shrug, draping it over one of the coat hooks near the door as he pulls his hat off just to shake some of the rain off. His head is fully healed, but the hats are habit, now, and not one he feels like breaking. “Hey, Chetta, I was-”

Something shatters, just another glass falling onto a bar’s unforgiving floor, but Grantaire turns and can’t breathe and can’t move and can’t think because the most beautiful man in the world is sitting at their usual table, staring right at Grantaire.

Combeferre is sitting next to the man’s side. He leans down, picking up shards of glass (always glass) and saying, “Well, that wasn’t exactly unexpe-”

“Who is that,” the man says, loud, yanking hard on Combeferre’s shoulder and rather rudely pointing straight at Grantaire, who is just kind of standing there staring right back at the man and oh god he doesn’t even need to be introduced because he knows it’s Enjolras, he can tell just by looking at him and holy shit he is the most breathtaking human being Grantaire has ever seen, even though he looks unhealthily pale.

Combeferre frowns at the interruption, but oh, god, his expression goes so fucking soft that it’s terrifying when he looks where Enjolras is pointing. Combeferre smiles and says, “His name is Grantaire.”

Enjolras says something, then, something quiet enough that Grantaire can’t hear. Combeferre just keeps smiling, and then waves Grantaire over.

He has no fucking clue what he’s supposed to do here, so he settles on obedience and prays that his legs will hold him while he walks towards them. What is Grantaire supposed to say? Does he ask if Enjolras remembers, does he introduce himself, does he-

“Do we trust Grantaire?” Enjolras asks.

And ah, yes, Grantaire remembers the good old days. Now the interaction’s just more auditory. And painfully pretty.

“Enjolras, you could trust Grantaire with your soul,” Combeferre says.

“God, you’re just trying to win the pun-off,” Grantaire says.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Combeferre says, and grins. “Grantaire, I’d like you to meet Enjolras, in the flesh. Finally.”

“You’re going to be as bad as Courfeyrac about this, aren’t you,” Grantaire mutters.

“Oh, I’m much worse,” Combeferre says, and is quite possibly the biggest asshole in the universe because he just stands up and fucking leaves. He’s so fast that Grantaire has absolutely no chance to catch him.

It leaves Grantaire just standing there, staring down at Enjolras and his brilliantly blue eyes and short golden curls that are longer on one side than the other, like an overgrown undercut. What does he say? What does he do? Oh god, oh fuck, this is horrible, he just keeps staring, and Enjolras is starting to frown, and Grantaire panics and says, “So how was your nap?”

Fuck.

Grantaire is about ready to run out of the Corinthe, because Enjolras makes a choking noise. His shoulders shake, and he tilts his head down to look at the table.

And then he starts laughing.

It’s a lovely laugh. Grantaire is so fucked.

Grantaire pulls a chair out from the table. He sits down before he falls down.

“It was fine,” Enjolras eventually says, and he’s smiling at Grantaire. He lifts a hand, moving it towards Grantaire before stopping about halfway across the table, smile dimming. “I’m. I’m Enjolras.” He takes a deep breath, exhaling loudly as he pulls his hand back into his own bubble of personal space. “You?”

“Right, sorry. I’m Grantaire, I work for Musichetta here and at the Musain in the mornings,” Grantaire says. When Enjolras gives him a surprised look with just a tint of frown, he shrugs. “Yeah, I know it seems like a lot of time, but I only come in when she needs me. It actually works out to something like three-quarters time, job-wise, and that’s no hardship. Besides, I like the people here.”

“That’s how you,” Enjolras says, and cuts off like his voice just suddenly disappeared.

Still, it’s enough for Grantaire. “How I met everyone?” he asks. When Enjolras stares at him, and then nods slowly, Grantaire sighs and leans back, trying to figure out how exactly to tell that story. “Well, a friend told me about their meetings. You’ve met Feuilly, right?”

And it’s not a lie. It’s extremely misleading, but not a lie.

Enjolras nods, and fights his way through the word, “Briefly.” He’s obviously getting more and more frustrated, which makes a lot of sense since apparently he was already managing two-syllable words his second week awake.

“Well, even briefly, you could probably tell how Feuilly just kind of slotted perfectly right in there with the rest of the gang,” Grantaire says. “And at the time I needed a job I could actually manage to do, which Musichetta kindly provided after Combeferre and Courfeyrac put in the good word, and one thing led to another, and here I am.”

This time, when Enjolras opens his mouth, there’s no sound. He looks absolutely furious, jaw rigid. His hands clench into fists on top of the table.

“Don’t you dare, Enjolras,” Grantaire snaps, pure instinct. “I do not have the energy to clean this shit up right now.”

It’s pure habit, just Grantaire’s reflex reaction to when he can just tell his ghost is about to destroy Grantaire’s belongings from poltergeist frustration.

Enjolras gapes at him, mouth dropping open and staring. For one moment, one tiny, yearning moment, Grantaire thinks maybe he remembers, but no. He’s just completely dumbfounded by Grantaire, which is pretty fucking reasonable.

“I’m sorry,” Grantaire says. Enjolras frowns at him, and Grantaire sighs, shaking his head. “No, it’s just habit, I'm sorry. I had a roommate and he would – he was an inconsiderate asshole, really, and he’d destroy my stuff when he got frustrated, so I just reacted to you. But he wasn’t always an asshole, he was actually, well, he just had to calm down and take a second and get control of himself sometimes and, fuck, what am I doing, you don’t want to hear about this.” Enjolras tilts his head to the side slightly, the slightest amount of concern in his eyes. “He’s, um. He’s gone.”

He can tell Enjolras wants more information, but Grantaire isn’t interested. He isn’t prepared. Fuck, he isn’t ready for any of this.

Grantaire shakes his head and stands up, only to find a shaking hand snapping out to get a weak hold on his wrist. Enjolras is breathing hard, and shit, Grantaire didn’t even notice the wheelchair until now.

“Wait,” he says, and his arm is shaking, and he absolutely won’t look away from Grantaire’s eyes.

Combeferre appears out of nowhere, not even remotely apologetic when he pulls Enjolras’ hand off of Grantaire’s wrist, nice and efficient and business-like. “I think I remember someone promising to be a good obedient patient if I brought him along,” Combeferre says, raising one of his eyebrows at Enjolras in a look that Grantaire knows makes you feel like you’re nothing but a disgraced pile of goo on the floor.

Or it does for Grantaire, at least. Not for Enjolras, because Enjolras looks very unimpressed.

And for some reason, Combeferre just stands there, waiting until Enjolras finally manages to say, “I’m sorry.”

“Seriously?” Combeferre asks, like Enjolras actually just declared he’s planning to become a mime.

No, I – I’m sorry,” Enjolras says again, and he’s still looking at Grantaire.

Oh.

“Hey, it’s fine, I’m just tired and don’t really talk about him,” Grantaire says. “I was only here to ask Musichetta if she needs help tonight anyway. It’s nice to.” He shuts his eyes. “It’s very nice to meet you, Enjolras.”

Grantaire doesn’t let himself say anything, or do anything, or hear anything, he just walks out of the building and doesn’t stop walking until he’s back in his apartment, soaking and cold and possibly in shock. He wants to drink himself to sleep, maybe even drink himself into his own little coma, but he’s doing much better and can only imagine Feuilly’s expression, walking in to find him.

Fuck it.

He almost always has emergency alcohol, maintenance alcohol, and it’s just one bottle and nowhere near enough for how black-out drunk he needs to be, because he saw Enjolras, and Enjolras is kind and brilliant and breathtaking and he didn’t recognize Grantaire, and he never will, and Grantaire is trapped in his own head feeling incomplete and lonely, fuck, he opens his door and almost instantly smashes into Courfeyrac.

Courfeyrac takes the opportunity to wrap Grantaire in a tight warm hug, saying, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry you had to see him that way but we thought maybe-”

“He’s gone,” Grantaire says, choking on the words, and he’s too pathetic to stop himself from burying his face in Courfeyrac’s shoulder, hugging back desperately. “Oh god, he’s gone, he’s never coming back, I lost him forever.”

“He’s still Enjolras, he’s not gone, you just have to help him find you again,” Courfeyrac says, and manages to somehow get them back inside the apartment.

Courfeyrac spends the entire night with him, which is so fucking stupid that Grantaire starts to wonder if he's infecting his friends too.

---

The sad truth is that Grantaire can’t avoid Enjolras. Grantaire works at the Musain, and Grantaire works at the Corinthe, and Grantaire has no friends that Enjolras doesn’t share. He tries to avoid him, tries to just keep his fucking mouth shut and just help Musichetta out and talk and laugh and smile with his friends, but sometimes, sometimes, Enjolras is just.

God, it’s just this terrible blend of disagreeing with pretty much every word out of his mouth and his pathetic crush that makes any attention seem like good attention and he just looks adorable when Grantaire really gets him riled up. Grantaire argues with him, Grantaire teases him, Grantaire forces him to question his beliefs, Grantaire verbally pokes at every sensitive spot in Enjolras' psyche just to watch him twitch.

And somehow, Enjolras doesn't get sick of Grantaire. It's a miracle, because god knows Grantaire is sick of Grantaire.

Weirdly, on the bad days like when they met, where Enjolras’ motor control isn’t so great and he comes in a wheelchair and can barely string a three word sentence together, Grantaire can still have full debates with him. Enjolras will scoff, or Enjolras will frown, or Enjolras will tip his head to the side, and Grantaire just knows. Apparently, it has creeped their friends out that Grantaire can do this.

The good and bad result of Grantaire’s uncanny ability to read Enjolras has left him in the strange and incredibly awkward position of doing Enjolras translation on bad days.

Like today.

It’s already been a month, and Enjolras’ bad days come less and less often – he can actually talk for probably five minutes nonstop on good days, all fire and vision with just a tint of the cold iron core that left Grantaire’s belongings in pieces. But today Combeferre wheels in a scowling (pouting) Enjolras, who immediately points at Grantaire the second he spots him behind the bar.

“Come talk for me,” Enjolras says, picking his way around the words but still managing to sound supremely confident.

“You do remember this is kind of my job, right? That I’m not just here to serve you in any way beyond bartender duties?” Grantaire asks. When Enjolras just raises an eyebrow, Grantaire rolls his eyes. “God, fine, just give me half an hour-”

“Now,” Enjolras says firmly.

Grantaire’s immediate reaction is to just tell Enjolras to fuck off, but instead he sees the tension in Enjolras’ body. “Something important happened,” Grantaire says. Enjolras looks away, unhappy. “Oh fuck, how bad of a thing are we talking here?”

“I think maybe we shouldn’t involve Grantaire in this,” Combeferre says softly.

Enjolras makes an unhappy noise of protest, and Grantaire has to grab on to the edge of the bar to be sure he can stay upright, because that was absolutely undeniably Enjolras objecting to excluding Grantaire.

Which is fucking pathetic, how desperate is Grantaire going to get.

But honestly, it probably means nothing. Everyone knows he’s the Enjolras translator. The bad days come less and less often, thank God, but even on good ones Grantaire occasionally has to interpret when Enjolras trips over a word.

Enjolras glances between Combeferre and Grantaire, obviously confused. “But. Trusting him?”

“Okay, let me shorten this conversation for the sake of all involved,” Grantaire says. He looks up at Combeferre, remembering exactly what happened when they met. “I know you’re doing something. I know it’s dangerous. I’m pretty sure it’s what put you in a coma. Whatever-”

“You don’t know?” Enjolras says, shockingly quickly for a bad day. Again, he glances between Combeferre and Grantaire. “He doesn’t?” When Combeferre just looks patient yet confused, Enjolras makes a frustrated noise and lifts a hand to make some weird opening motion next to his ear, tongue clicking along with the move.

Oh. No, he doesn’t know, you didn’t want - I mean,” Combeferre sends Grantaire a quick apologetic look. That usually means a near-miss with the whole poltergeist thing. “Grantaire’s not involved in that side of things, and he’s done you the honor of not googling you. It’s a very respectful thing, not googling people.”

Enjolras reddens.

“The point here is that I am not involved in the sneaky spy side of things, okay?” Grantaire says, but god, Enjolras looks so fucking disappointed, so Grantaire just. God, he’s a fucking idiot. “But if you need translating today, I’ll help.”

“No,” Enjolras says, but gives Grantaire something a little bit close to a bittersweet smile. “But thank you.”

“Any time,” Grantaire says, weakly, and tries to ignore the amused look Combeferre gives him as they move into the back room used for their meetings. Usually they sit in the main area, but there’s a private party room thing that they all squish into, with Enjolras at the head of the table.

It is not lost on him that Feuilly is inside, now a full member of Enjolras’ group. Grantaire’s the only one left on the other side of the doors. Courfeyrac may close them with a cheerful grin and wave to Grantaire, but they’re still shut.

They’re shut the rest of the night, until Musichetta puts a hand on his shoulder with a smile and tells him to go home already.

He does.

---

The next time he sees Enjolras is a week later, and it is very obviously a good day. He’s sitting at the usual table at the Corinthe, smiling with his (their) friends, drinking out of a standard glass, which really is a big fucking deal. According to Enjolras, dexterity is by far the most difficult thing for him to recover. He can almost always walk and talk these days, but fingers and gripping are tough and take more concentration.

They don’t talk about it a lot, mostly because there really isn’t a point in talking about it, but Courfeyrac has repeatedly bragged about how amazing Enjolras’ recovery is going. Enjolras doesn’t think so, but still, everyone involved knows it’ll take a while.

The point is, Grantaire sees him on a great day after so many bad days in a row, and he ends up smiling about it, and Enjolras looks over and spots him, and drops the glass on the floor, gaping.

Courfeyrac is there immediately, of course, nobody really reacting other than moving to clean up while Courfeyrac does a quick status check with Enjolras, who just starts turning red again. He hears Courfeyrac laugh, so that means everything’s fine, so Grantaire just goes ahead and finds Musichetta in the store room.

Enjolras is waiting for him when Grantaire comes back out, standing in front of the bar. He's almost twitching.

“Grantaire, it’s come to my attention that you don’t know what happened to me,” Enjolras says.

Grantaire shrugs, lips quirking into a tease of a smile. “Well, I just kind of assumed there was some sort of brain injury. A traumatic one, even.”

Obviously there was a – look, my point is that I thought that’s why you do that, you know,” he says, and sort of waves a hand through the air. “That thing.”

“I have no idea what that means,” Grantaire says.

Enjolras continues, “And then I thought, maybe he’s one of those bleeding heart nurturing people-”

Grantaire laughs.

“Exactly. So I’m asking you out on a date,” Enjolras says.

“Leading you to what conclusion in your examination of that thing?” Grantaire asks.

Enjolras looks very confused. “No, I’m. I’m asking you out on a date. In the dating way.” When Grantaire just frowns, Enjolras leans against the bar between them. “Grantaire, I have no idea how to make this more obvious. I want to take you on a date. The romantic kind. With kissing, if you’d like that.”

“Oh,” Grantaire says weakly.

“This could be kind of complicated, obviously, but I really like you. I don’t honestly know how long it’s going to take for me to be permanently back on my feet. There’s no definite prognosis for recovering from a coma, so I can’t make any promises,” Enjolras says. It is very obviously rehearsed, although it’s turned out nicely. The practice paid off.

Grantaire just keeps staring at him.

It’s probably unnerving.

“I was going to wait to ask you out but I really, really like you and today’s good because I can walk and stand for extended periods of time and I’m more eloquent than I can usually manage, and finally believe I’m going to recover, so it seemed like as good of timing as I’m going to get,” Enjolras says, quickly reddening. “But I’m starting to think this was the exact opposite of good timing on your end, for which I apologize. But, I mean, you look very pretty today, which was a really stupid thing for me to say right now but really I am embarrassingly attracted to your mind too, not just. I like all parts of you. A lot. And I thought. Oh, shit, Grantaire, I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s just,” Grantaire says, and squeezes his eyes shut. “I, fuck, I like you too, so much, I would – it’d be great, it really would, but I’m just.”

“The roommate,” Enjolras says quietly.

Grantaire can only nod.

“It’s okay,” Enjolras says, and he’s so fucking sincere, so caring and understanding and empathetic. He’s such a fucking sweetheart. “Really, it’s okay. I don’t know what happened-”

“He left,” Grantaire says bluntly. “We fought, and I got hurt, and when I woke up he was gone.” When he opens his eyes and sees the look on Enjolras’ face, he shakes his head. “No, not like that. I told you he’d, well, sure he had a temper, but it was nowhere near intentional, I just tripped and fell. Really, I’m not just saying that, I just fell down. He never even touched me.”

Ever.

“I’m sorry,” Enjolras says.

Grantaire drags a hand down his face, absently hoping it’ll somehow pull the feelings out of him. He could just shake them off of his hand and move on with life, but no. “We were fighting about, I don’t know what to call it, breaking up I guess. I already told him to leave and go back to his real life, so it wasn’t a surprise when he left, it just.”

“It still hurt,” Enjolras says.

“God, you don’t want to hear this,” Grantaire says, and tries to get a fucking grip on himself, god, he’s so pathetic. “So. My answer is, uh. Not yet?”

“That’s perfectly fine,” Enjolras says, smiling. “Honestly, it might be the best possible option. It gives both of us recovery time.”

Grantaire feels like he should say something bitter and witty, just enough to break the ache-inducing sweetness.

Instead, he says, “I don’t care, you know.”

Enjolras frowns. “Is that not okay?”

“No, I mean, your recovery,” Grantaire says. “I just want to make sure you know I don’t give a fuck if you’re having a bad day or a good day or any of that. You could have bad days for the rest of your life and I’d still feel the same.”

“I know that. You’ve always treated me the same,” Enjolras says. He suddenly looks awkward again. “Well. I’m going to – but thank you. Thank you for listening and talking this over with me and being honest and sharing-”

“Oh for fuck’s sake,” Grantaire says, and sure, it’s a bad idea, but he does it anyway. He leans over the bar, slides a hand through the longer side of Enjolras’ hair, and kisses him. It’s soft, nothing but a brief delicate press of lips against lips, completely chaste, but Enjolras still releases a tight shuddering breath when Grantaire pulls away.

Enjolras stares at him.

“I hope that was okay,” Grantaire says, still close enough to feel Enjolras’ breath against his lips.

“Very okay,” Enjolras says. “I have no idea what I’m doing, by the way.”

“That makes two of us,” Grantaire says, but he takes his time about pulling his hand out of Enjolras’ painfully soft hair. “Now go, you’re very distracting and I’m technically at work right now.”

Enjolras smiles, and leaves, and there’s an awful lot of noise from their friends’ corner, and Grantaire has to go back into the store room and hyperventilate for a few minutes.

If there is an award for complicated relationship status, holy shit, Grantaire is a shoe-in. Betting odds are 1 to 1.

“I’m too hung up on the ghost version of him to date the actual physical version of him,” Grantaire mutters. It is by far the stupidest thing he has ever heard, and he has heard some very stupid shit.

But hey, maybe he can think his way through this.

Obviously, they’re the same person, just…different. His ghost was an uncertain swing between sweet, friendly, and destructive. Enjolras is all of those things, but muted, somehow. Coma recovery or not, the idea of seeing Enjolras toss plates against walls is just preposterous. But at the same time, Grantaire isn’t constantly on edge talking to human Enjolras, never waiting to dodge silverware or have a face full of sugar after one very enthusiastic poof when Enjolras tried to communicate too quickly.

The difference comes down to two things, really.

Enjolras is beautiful and friendly and cares so much about everything, always trying to do the right thing, always quiet but beaming as their friends talk (unless arguing with Grantaire, in which case it is the exact opposite).

Meanwhile, Grantaire’s ghost was unrestrained and wholly, completely Grantaire’s.

Courfeyrac barging in on his abysmal self-evaluation party isn’t even surprising anymore.

“So,” Courfeyrac says.

Grantaire just groans and hides his face behind his hands.

“I don’t know if I’m surprised or not, honestly,” Courfeyrac says, and sits on one of the nearby crates. “Maybe it’s kind of like an amnesia situation.” He hesitates, but shifts again, kneels down in front of Grantaire, soft and sincere. “I’m sorry, Grantaire, but I don’t think he’s going to remember. Your ghost is gone, and I know that must hurt, but Enjolras is right there, and he’s completely stupid over you, not even joking. He’s been driving us all insane. You think he still has trouble holding things even on good days, but that is not true. At all. He loses his concentration when he sees you, and it’s adorable and frustrating because-”

“Stop,” Grantaire says.

Courfeyrac does. Mostly. He drops that specific angle, at least. “You know he woke up for you, right?”

Grantaire frowns. “What makes you say that?”

“It’s obvious. You were in trouble, and he couldn’t help, so he helped the only way he could – he blew up the front door, tried to call Feuilly, and woke up so we’d go tell you and find you in the process,” Courfeyrac says.

Phrased like that, it does sound obvious.

“You didn’t know that?” Courfeyrac asks.

Grantaire shakes his head, and stands up, not saying another word. He should apologize to Musichetta but instead he just walks out and thinks about nothing at all.

---

Feuilly finds him under a highway overpass at five in the morning, out of his mind at one of his old haunts.

He doesn’t take Grantaire to the apartment. Feuilly drives home and silently stretches some blankets over his familiar couch, and then does a very quick examination for any serious problems, finally just saying, “Were you safe?”

“Probably not,” Grantaire says, and drops to sleep on the couch.

---

Grantaire sleeps on Feuilly’s couch for a week before he can finally bring himself to say, “I think I need to find a new apartment.”

He can tell Feuilly has something to say, but he doesn’t. Instead, he starts asking around, and every single place Grantaire can afford is just. They’re horrible. They’re tiny and smelly and moldy and probably have rats and he fucking hates rats and Grantaire is completely spoiled by his current apartment, excluding supernatural incidents. He has granite countertops, for fuck’s sake. He has an island in his kitchen. He has a dishwasher.

So, he plans an exorcism.

He has never seen Jehan this excited.

Everyone is in on it, although Combeferre and Courfeyrac keep giving him looks that vary from sympathetic to resigned to amused to exasperated – it’s all very emotional for them, basically. Jehan has candles and spilled out a massive pentagram in sugar (he brought salt; Grantaire corrected him for this particular ghost) and put candles at specific points and all over the apartment, all lit and suitably mood-setting.

He can’t look at Enjolras. The one time he did, Grantaire had no fucking clue what was looking back at him other than it was powerful. Enjolras knows this exorcism is about much more than supernatural pests and negative energies.

Grantaire is done with being haunted.

They have to wait until exactly midnight on a full moon, everyone dressed in black for some reason, with Jehan leading the group through suitably spooky chanting, and Grantaire, well. Grantaire is just going along with it and enjoying everyone’s goofy excitement about a pseudo-séance until Jehan says, “There’s something here. Someone here.”

Grantaire knows it’s bullshit because the someone who was here is sitting four candles away from him on the big pentagram circle, but his ears still perk up.

Jehan frowns, eyes closed because that’s what you do when communicating with spirits, and says, “I feel something. Something…something hot. Something burning.”

Grantaire leans forward, watching Jehan intently, because is he making this up? Is this just his idea of a good time? Enjolras is sitting right there, but. But what if he left something behind?

“It’s complicated,” Jehan says. “Rage or love, I can’t – but I see fire. Screaming in fire, so much rage and passion and pain.”

No.

“I see someone,” Jehan says, almost whispering. “Stretching their hand through the flames, reaching towards me, saving me-”

“Oh fuck no, get out!” Grantaire shouts, roars, and slams his hands onto the floor within the sugar pentagram. It feels like something’s being sucked violently out of his veins, and his arms burn, glass in one and fire on the other and his head hurts and his heart hurts and Grantaire gasps for air, and gasps, and gasps, drowning, suffocating.

Every single candle erupts into flames, hissing and sparking, and then snuffs itself out.

The sugar is melted, glazing the wood floor.

“Oh wow,” Jehan says, absolutely elated, and Grantaire has just enough time to hear Enjolras make a surprised noise and collapse before Grantaire passes out too.

---

When Grantaire wakes up, he’s on his bed.

Enjolras is also on his bed. He looks perfectly peaceful in his sleep, golden hair curling against the pillow Grantaire usually sleeps on.

Grantaire could get used to seeing that when he wakes up.

“I’m starting to think you need a fainting couch,” Combeferre says from the chair in the corner, amused.

“All those gothic novels finally make sense,” Grantaire agrees, and he should probably stand up and stretch and be respectful to his sleeping not-yet-it’s-complicated-boyfriend, but instead he’s just going to stay here for a while. Because, you know. He can. It’s his bed anyway. “So, what’s the situation? How long was I out?”

“Not very, all things considered. Just an hour or so,” Combeferre says. “Courfeyrac and I convinced everyone not to worry; we’ve seen this sort of thing before, after all. Not on Enjolras’ side, though.”

There is a very long meaningful pause.

Grantaire has no idea what it’s supposed to mean.

“Anyway, all the candles are cleaned up, Jehan and I approved scraping off the sugar so that’s currently in progress, and everyone had a fantastic time, really. It’s almost two in the morning and everyone’s still happy to drink a lot and clean your floor for you,” Combeferre says. Their friends are the best. “This may have been the event of the year for Jehan. He hasn’t stopped bouncing since you both passed out.”

“I’m happy to hear it,” Grantaire says, smiling, and means it. Jehan really is fantastic, he deserves every bit of joy he can get.

Combeferre smiles at him, and stands up. “I’m glad it’s you, Grantaire,” he says, which makes no sense until he heads out the door and, just before he shuts the door, says, “Enjolras is awake, by the way. He’s been faking it for the past three minutes.”

“Oh,” Grantaire says weakly, and the door shuts.

Turning over to face Enjolras is like a horror movie, the slow but inevitable confrontation with something that fucking terrifies you.

The feeling doesn’t last very long, because the second he’s facing Enjolras, Enjolras says, “You can’t possibly be afraid of me now. I was fucking terrifying, I had everyone but you run out screaming-”

Oh my god,” Grantaire says, heart exploding, and grabs a fistful of Enjolras’ hair just in time for Enjolras to slide forward and kiss Grantaire hard, clumsy and a little bit uncoordinated but Grantaire doesn’t care because oh god, oh fuck, it’s Enjolras, it’s all parts of Enjolras. He ends up moaning when Enjolras just slides a hand up Grantaire’s shirt, that’s all, and Enjolras is absolutely totally one hundred percent his ghost because he’s an asshole. He pulls away to snicker for a moment, and then tugs at Grantaire’s shirt, and Grantaire can absolutely do that.

The second Grantaire’s shirt is off, Enjolras is on him. He rolls over, spreads his legs and straddles Grantaire, saying, “I’m a terrible person because I watched you shower.”

“I fucking knew it,” Grantaire says, and drags Enjolras down into another kiss, keeping a hold on Enjolras’ gorgeous yet ridiculous lopsided hair. He keeps it short (and filthy) and pulls back to kiss Enjolras’ neck. “What are we doing, what can you do, I am absolutely okay with making out for one to seven hours. God, you are stupid pretty, I want you to know I’ve fallen in love with you two times and one of them was obviously not for your looks but holy shit, Enjolras.”

“That’s why,” Enjolras starts to say, and cuts off with a gasp when Grantaire leans up to bite at his collarbone. “That’s why I said no seeing me, I just – god, Grantaire, I know I’m pretty and you didn’t and it was so good. It still is. I repeatedly destroyed your shit and you still loved me and you always treat me like a person, oh fuck, Grantaire, I love you. Twice. Always.”

“Oh my fucking god, yes,” Grantaire says, and they’re kissing again, frantically dragging Enjolras’ shirt off of him.

“I was so jealous, because you were obviously still in love with me, but also in love with me, we are complicated,” Enjolras says, fingers trying very hard to get Grantaire’s pants off but just plucking at his fly more than anything else. He makes a frustrated noise. “God, fucking dexterity, I’m sorry-”

“You’re fine, don’t apologize,” Grantaire says, and flips them over. Enjolras makes a pleasantly surprised noise when his back hits the mattress, and Grantaire quickly goes about getting Enjolras’ pants off, because hell yes, apparently they’re going beyond frantically making out.

But there is a definite point about the coordination thing, but that isn’t at all hard to get around. At all. This is so very far from being a hardship, and Grantaire manages to drop his own pants and kick them onto the floor. He thinks about getting his mouth around Enjolras’ cock, but this is very much about sexy desperate reciprocity right now, so he sort of awkwardly crawls back up his bed instead.

“You okay?” Grantaire asks, trapping Enjolras between his thighs again.

“I’m going to call you immediately when I am having a very good day so you’ll come over and I can fuck you,” Enjolras says, sliding his hands across Grantaire’s back.

And, god, why not. Grantaire just goes for it, hides his face by sucking at Enjolras’ collarbone, and says, “Or we could both already be here. Together.”

Enjolras loses his breath for a moment, chest stuttering in its already straining exhalation. “You – oh god,” Enjolras says, and his fingers clench against Grantaire’s back so tightly that it hurts. “I can’t, but fuck yes.” He laughs lightly, and pulls a hand away from Grantaire’s back to pull his chin up and drag their lips together. He grins and says, “I would love that, I want that, but my answer has to be not yet.”

Which makes a lot of sense, all things considered.

“Can you sleep here?” Grantaire asks, the logistics of all of this suddenly slamming into his brain. These days, Enjolras is mostly on his feet and self-sufficient, but he still has some very, very bad days, ones Grantaire doesn’t even get to see.

“I’m sleeping with you tonight,” Enjolras states, and it is very obviously nonnegotiable.

“I am so completely okay with that,” Grantaire says, and kisses him again, and again, and again, and it’s never enough. Enjolras’ mouth is hot and welcoming and beautiful, and he whimpers when one of Enjolras’ hands slides down to touch Grantaire’s cock.

It reminds him of his plan for this, and he slides down Enjolras’ body, just enough that when he grinds down, he can feel Enjolras’ cock against his own, can watch Enjolras shudder and toss his head back, just slightly. It’s just enough for Grantaire to run his mouth across Enjolras’ throat and thrust again, harder, groaning.

Enjolras takes a deep breath, wraps his arms around Grantaire, and says, “Hard.

Grantaire can do that. It’s a little more difficult with some plain old frottage, but he can definitely do that. He braces himself as best he can, planting his elbows on either side of Enjolras' head and staring down at Enjolras' face and is so fucking glad neither of them are going to feel embarrassed about this when they face their friends in the morning because Grantaire does not want to try and be subtle. He tries to take a deep breath and fails, staring down at Enjolras, and thrusts, hard. He grinds against Enjolras’ cock fast and rough and tight enough that it almost hurts it’s so good, ends up letting out high noises while Enjolras just holds on to him and tries to thrust back as quickly, gasping and moaning so loudly that the downstairs neighbors will probably think the ghost is back.

Grantaire,” Enjolras manages to say, and he’s so fucking beautiful, hair thrown back across the pillow, arms wrapped around Grantaire like he never wants to let go, like they belong, and Grantaire wishes this could last forever. He comes with Enjolras’ name on his lips, Enjolras’ mouth gasping against his neck.

It feels like it’s nowhere near enough, almost anticlimactic, but he leans down and kisses Enjolras, who meets him eagerly, desperately, and this is what matters. This is what Grantaire wants. Enjolras needs more, and Grantaire’s entire world focuses down to making Enjolras come. He pulls back, ignoring the pained disappointed noise Enjolras makes, and immediately slides down Enjolras’ body to swallow Enjolras’ cock.

Grantaire barely has time to moan at the taste and feel and god, the glorious thought of this before Enjolras comes with a short shout. Grantaire nearly chokes, but the desperate whine that bursts out of Enjolras’ throat just a heartbeat after he comes is worth it, it is absolutely worth it. Enjolras is worth anything and everything.

He takes his time about pulling away from Enjolras’ cock, reluctant even though Enjolras has an arm thrown over his face and is still trying to catch his breath, panting and breathless in the best kind of way.

Grantaire is kind of pathetic, so he only has to reach into his bedside drawer to fetch a wet wipe to clean them both up, kissing his way up Enjolras’ body in the process.

“I love you so much,” Enjolras breathes out, obviously exhausted, and Grantaire manages to pull the bedding over them, curling around a still-shaking Enjolras, which is unexpected. He takes hold of Enjolras’ closest hand, and there’s definitely an attempt at squeezing back, very definitely a fight to get his fingers to obey.

“I love you too,” Grantaire says, smiling into the shorter side of Enjolras’ hair, and quickly falls asleep, the happiest he's ever been.

---

Grantaire wakes up to his phone ringing, very loudly. He groans, pulls away from Enjolras’ wonderful warm body, and answers while looking at the clock – exactly 8:00 in the morning. Well, 8:01 now.

“Sorry to wake you, but Combeferre and I are outside your front door with all of Enjolras’ morning stuff,” Courfeyrac says, incredibly cheerful.

“Ugh,” Grantaire says.

“I know, I’m sorry to cut in on snuggle time, you know we are, but this really is important,” Courfeyrac says, “So, if you could make yourself a little bit presentable and come let us in, that’d be great.”

“Fine, give me a second,” Grantaire says, speech a smidge bit slurred from how fucking tired he is, and hangs up. He puts his phone on the nightstand and falls back onto his bed, looking at Enjolras, who is looking at Grantaire. Grantaire smiles, and leans forward, kissing him lightly.

Enjolras makes a noise, something between a pleased humming and surprised exhale of meaningless noise, and he obviously tries to kiss back. It doesn’t work very well.

Grantaire just shifts to press a kiss to the corner of Enjolras’ mouth, and then his cheek, running a hand gently across his cheek and through his hair before pulling away slowly.

“Do you want me here for whatever morning stuff Combeferre and Courfeyrac do?” Grantaire asks.

Enjolras makes a very obvious no noise. It’s probably a fuck no.

“Fair enough,” Grantaire says, and gets out of bed, tossing the bedding off of both of them. “I have to say, when I found out you weren’t actually dead I just about fell on the floor. It would’ve been even more fainting if Combeferre hadn’t – well. My point is that you having a pulse is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. So. Thank you for being alive.”

He’s in no hurry to get dressed, but finds Enjolras’ discarded underwear easily enough. Grantaire slowly, slowly drags the fabric up Enjolras’ legs, and gets a little too involved in biting Enjolras’ thigh because Enjolras is making noises that are pleased and needy, and he manages to turn his leg just a little but in a very encouraging way, but no. Grantaire regretfully gets Enjolras nice and dressed, saying, “We’ve already kept them waiting.”

Enjolras sighs, and is already improving because he manages a small bit of nodding his head in agreement.

Grantaire dresses himself quickly and kisses Enjolras one last time, short and soft, and grins at him. The corners of Enjolras’ lips twitch upwards into what is undeniably a smile. “I’ll see you soon,” Grantaire says, and finally manages to get himself out of the bedroom. It takes a lot of firm and deliberate willpower to walk out and open his apartment’s door to see Combeferre and Courfeyrac waiting patiently.

“We’re assuming he’s not doing so great this morning,” Courfeyrac says when Grantaire notices the folded up wheelchair and the very much not small bag in Combeferre’s hands. “I mean, you probably kind of wore him out.”

Grantaire just grins, giddy and elated because yes. Yes, he most certainly did.

“I’ll be at the Musain, don’t worry about locking my door, everyone’s too scared to break in,” Grantaire tells them, and leaves, trying very hard to not bounce his way to the elevator.

---

He is completely useless at the Musain. He is obnoxiously happy. Musichetta bans him from coffee or any other form of caffeine, including chocolate, and Grantaire genuinely doesn’t care.

Eventually, Musichetta just sighs, dotingly exasperated, and says, “Be stupidly in love somewhere that won’t bother my customers, or potentially become infectious.”

“Oh my fucking god,” Grantaire says when he hears the word infectious, and Grantaire goes and gets himself tested.

He gets tested for every single thing you can possibly get tested for, from AIDS and Avian Flu to West Nile Virus and Yellow Fever, and freaks out because while some test results are the doctor rolling her eyes and saying, “No, Grantaire, you do not have Dengue fever,” to results that can take an entire week, maybe even two.

Grantaire falls into his regular chair at the Corinthe with wild eyes and unwashed hair, staring at nothing as he tries to deal with the absolute horror of what might happen.

“You’re looking kind of, uh. Unhinged,” Joly tells him. Eventually. They give Grantaire a few minutes to be useless.

“What if I have leprosy?” Grantaire finally blurts out, and completely loses what little composure he had. He ends up shaking Joly, grabbing him by the shoulders and saying, “I can’t have leprosy, Joly! Oh god, I’m going to kill him! I’m fucking human trash, who knows what I could have caught?!”

No.” Feuilly comes out of nowhere to stand directly in Grantaire’s line of sight. “No you aren’t, Grantaire,” he says, completely serious, pulling Grantaire’s hands away from poor stunned Joly so he can hold them. “You were never trash, you’re a person. You’re important. You’re a wonderful and talented person and mean so much to so many people.” After a moment, Feuilly frowns. “And I seriously doubt you have leprosy.”

“I dare you to tell me I’m just being paranoid,” Grantaire says. He might be shaking a little bit. “I fucking dare you. I’ve been bitten by crazy people, cut with filthy rusty switchblades, I’ve woken up with fucking rats in my-”

He stops himself. He chokes to a halt, frozen, and Feuilly squeezes his hands tightly.

Grantaire is not even a little surprised to see that everyone is here now, even Combeferre and Courfeyrac, and they have Enjolras with them, miracle of miracles. He’s honest to god on his own feet, managing it with nothing but a cane and watchful best friends, and he is looking at Grantaire with a completely still, closed expression.

Grantaire can’t laugh this off. There’s no possible way he can just take this back and drink himself unconscious and hope nobody ever mentions it again.

“It’s not that big of a deal,” Grantaire says, and tries to smile, manages something fake but good enough. “I mean, we all did stupid shit, mine’s just a lot stupider-”

“Grantaire,” Enjolras says, crystal clear and authoritative. It cuts through the entire bar, and through Grantaire most of all.

“It’s nothing,” Grantaire says, a little bit desperate. “It’s nothing, Enjolras, I swear, we can ignore this, I’m taking care of it, there’s-”

Enjolras holds out a hand, and says, “Come here.”

“No,” Grantaire says, absolutely terrified.

“Please,” Enjolras says, softer, and stretches out his fingers.

Grantaire takes a shaky breath, and goes.

He moves cautiously through the bar and finally within touching distance. Enjolras immediately grabs Grantaire’s shirt and tugs just enough that Grantaire gets the idea, stepping forward until Enjolras makes a pleased noise and wraps an arm around him. He tilts slightly, pressing his lips to Grantaire’s neck.

“Thank you for being alive,” Enjolras says softly.

And that.

Oh, god, Grantaire’s breath starts to hitch, eyes wet, tiny horrible noises sneaking their way out of his choking throat. He clings to Enjolras. That’s absolutely the only word for it. He holds him tightly and keeps his eyes squeezed shut.

Someone must bring a chair over, because when he’s finally ready to do something other than cling and not quite cry, he’s sitting on Enjolras’ lap, curled into him as Enjolras just holds them both together.

Finally, Grantaire manages to say, “You’re doing better than this morning.”

“I had incentive,” Enjolras says, and kisses Grantaire on the cheek. “And stop worrying. I love you, completely.”

“Can we pretend this never happened?” Grantaire asks.

“For now, if you want,” Enjolras says, unbothered, and moves to stare into Grantaire’s eyes for a moment. Then, he leans forward, kissing Grantaire lightly. His lips linger, and Grantaire is tempted to press forward, kiss him hard and hot, but closes his eyes and breathes instead.

They just sit there for a long moment, until someone behind them (Bahorel?) says, “Well this is different.”

“Are they possessed?” Jehan asks, chalk full of unholy glee.

It probably makes sense, from their side of things. Before now, he and Enjolras had been in some gentle pining orbit, polite and soft and trying to keep a respectful distance no matter what they felt. And now, Grantaire is sitting on Enjolras’ lap kissing him and doing his best to curl inside of him.

“We worked some things out,” Enjolras says, very obviously not remotely interested in moving. His arms are holding Grantaire’s waist, light and comforting.

“We heard,” Bahorel says.

Grantaire snickers, and grins, opening his eyes to see Enjolras smiling softly at him.

“Good,” Enjolras says, loud and satisfied.

“Oh, sugar, you always say the sweetest things,” Grantaire says. The reference makes Enjolras laugh, high and bright and holding him tightly, and Grantaire could honestly die happy.

---

After one week of absolutely absurd happiness, Grantaire is starting to worry he’s hallucinating.

It’s Musichetta he confides in about this, standing next to her behind the Musain’s counter and staring at where Enjolras is sitting, reading a book and drinking tea and throwing little smiles Grantaire’s way that are driving him fucking crazy. “This shit doesn’t happen,” Grantaire says, a little bit desperate and trying to ignore the whole ‘I met him when he was a poltergeist’ thing.

“You still argue,” Musichetta points out.

This is true. However, arguments now usually end with Grantaire’s tongue in Enjolras’ mouth and their friends feeling kind of awkward when they have to deal with them making out for like an hour straight.

“Why can’t you just be happy about this?” Musichetta finally asks.

“It’s going to fall apart,” Grantaire says, and he is going to wipe the pattern off of the mug he’s cleaning. It’s stress scrubbing. “It’s obviously going to fall apart. This is just the honeymoon period, and it’ll wear off-”

“Then wait for it to wear off,” Musichetta finally says, obviously reaching the limit of her patience. “Enjoy it now, and don’t worry until there are actual problems.”

That is a solid plan if ever there was one. Sort of. Well, it’s good enough.

Enjolras has more and more good days, and one week turns into two, and three, and the only really noteworthy landmarks in their relationship are particularly memorable sexual activities. For example: the time Grantaire gave Enjolras such a good blowjob he had to physically stuff Enjolras in a taxi to get him home. Another example: the extremely ill-advised time that Grantaire fucked Enjolras on the couch and they ended up falling off and Grantaire nearly had to get stitches from hitting the dangerously sharp corner of his often-repaired coffee table.

Grantaire has pretty much given up on getting any work done when Enjolras is anywhere near him, and Grantaire is finally okay with living in his apartment, and things are terrifyingly perfect.

It’s about twenty five days after the exorcism when Enjolras calls him at ten in the morning to somewhat politely explain he’s feeling amazing and he’d like Grantaire to come over so he can fuck him.

It is undeniably the most exciting booty call of Grantaire’s entire existence.

Grantaire can tell Enjolras wanted to make it sort of special and sweet but Grantaire fucks that plan up pretty quick just by showing up with no underwear beneath his jeans, already as stretched out and prepped as he can manage, and it is glorious. Enjolras fucks him like he’s dying, kisses him like he's starving, touches him like Grantaire is the only thing that matters in the entire world, and Grantaire pretty much passes out about seven seconds after Enjolras comes, everything else completely inconsequential. It’s just enough time for Enjolras to slide out of him and give him one of those hot sweet lingering kisses, breath shaky against Grantaire’s lips as he says, I love you so much.

Sometimes, they just touch. He knows why, knows it’s because the poltergeist in Enjolras couldn’t touch him and because Grantaire couldn’t touch a ghost and they both were fucking terrified to try and touch when they met again, scared of breaking each other in very different ways. So, they lay side by side, pressed together perfectly.

A month passes.

Enjolras is rarely in a wheelchair, and his bad days are cane days instead. His normal days are an Enjolras who laughs and walks and has perfect beautiful mastery of his voice and words.

Two months pass.

Grantaire finally starts selling paintings again. Their friends aren’t surprised anymore when Enjolras and Grantaire make a completely unsubtle exit to find somewhere slightly private. Enjolras dares to try dancing, and Grantaire only avoids panicking when Combeferre and Courfeyrac reassure him that yes, really, everything’s fine, that’s standard for Enjolras.

Enjolras starts dipping his toes back into his old ruthless exposé journalism thing. Grantaire goes with him to one of his idealistic cohort’s big mixer things as Enjolras’ plus one. Over and over again, Enjolras introduces him as Grantaire, the love of my life.

Three months pass.

Enjolras is officially declared ‘good enough’ and has doctor approval for pretty much everything there is, although rock climbing, skydiving, and fistfights are strongly discouraged. Anything that could bash his head against something is discouraged. Grantaire kind of worries they need to carry a pillow around and is very quickly persuaded that it’s a stupid idea when Enjolras manages the miracle of fucking him against a wall, and Grantaire gasps with Enjolras’ lips hot against his throat and bangs his head against the wall repeatedly, choking and dizzy in the best way, and okay, yes, this is definitely something he’s good with Enjolras feeling.

Grantaire gets the usual love of my life introduction from Enjolras, which he’s just kind of resigned himself to by now, really. The guy he’s being introduced to looks between Enjolras and Grantaire, bewildered, and says, “Seriously?” There’s probably a two second gap of stillness, and then Enjolras punches the guy so hard he’s unconscious on the floor. Grantaire is reminded that Enjolras was most definitely a poltergeist, not some sweetiepie Casper wannabe, and drags Enjolras out of the building before they’re banned for life and Enjolras’ tentatively resurfacing career is ruined.

“How dare he,” Enjolras says, over and over on the walk back to his apartment. They’re walking because Grantaire is hoping Enjolras can indignantly stomp the anger out before they go to bed. Grantaire isn’t in the mood for grumpy smothering. “How dare he. You’re – how dare he!”

“Oh hey, I used to sleep over there,” Grantaire says, pointing down an alley with his free hand, because it’s true and also he’s not sure if he can deal with another twenty minutes of how dare hes.

“You are so brave,” Enjolras says, and kisses him until Grantaire’s toes tingle.

Grantaire’s life is phenomenal.

He gets comfortable, and starts thinking this might be a real-life happy ending. They might really live happily ever after.

Surprising absolutely nobody, they don’t.

Exactly one hundred days after the exorcism, exactly, all the way down to the midnight minute, they’re startled awake by Enjolras’ phone. They’d spent the night carefully talking about the realities involved in theoretically living together, and fallen asleep in Grantaire’s bed, and they’re curled into each other after a long couple of days involving Grantaire dealing with commissions (he has those now what the fuck) and Enjolras trying to fight his way back into journalism networks when Enjolras’ phone goes off in a painful burst of piercing noises. They probably sound like a song if you can actually listen without wanting to cry at the volume increase from pleasant sleepy nothing to very very loud.

Grantaire whines into Enjolras’ chest and says, “Please make the bad noise go away.”

“Oh god, why,” Enjolras groans, and grabs his phone off of his side of the bed’s nightstand, absently kissing Grantaire’s shoulder in the process. “Hello?”

Enjolras goes completely rigid, listening to the voice on the other end intently, and finally says, “Yes, I see. Of course. I’ll be there as soon as I can.” It’s followed by one more formless sound of acknowledgement, and Enjolras hangs up, smoothly rolling out of bed and onto his feet.

When Enjolras starts pulling clothes out of his drawer in the dresser, Grantaire finally feels awake enough to ask, “What happened?”

“I have to go meet Combeferre,” Enjolras says, dressing quickly.

Grantaire sits up in bed, eyes wide, suddenly completely awake. “What’s wrong? Is he okay?”

“Combeferre’s fine,” Enjolras says, sliding into a dark shirt Grantaire can’t remember seeing before, which is weird. Okay, maybe he isn’t completely awake. “Go back to sleep, I’ll see you soon.”

“But what-”

Enjolras cuts him off with a kiss, rough and brief but sharp, almost unhinged. He pulls away leaving Grantaire breathing heavily, and quickly kisses the top of Grantaire’s head. “I love you so much,” Enjolras says, which isn’t uncommon, far from it, but there’s something rough to the words this time.

“I love you too,” Grantaire says automatically, and Enjolras walks out the door.

Eventually, exhaustion overwhelms Grantaire's formless anxiety from the phone call, and he falls asleep with an arm curled around Enjolras’ still-warm pillow.

Enjolras doesn’t come back.

---

In the morning, Grantaire heads to the Musain, as usual. He might be making money with painting again, but he’s come to genuinely enjoy working with Musichetta at the coffee shop and bar. He gets there at six in the morning, to hopefully help out with the mid-rush morning orders. The time isn’t an inconvenience; he wasn’t exactly sleeping soundly anyway.

The Musain is closed.

He’s not the only one who has to stop and stare at the sign on the door – many blurry-eyed customers come and groan in exhausted pain and have to turn around to find caffeine somewhere else.

Normally, the Musain is open from five in the morning to about three in the afternoon, at which point the Corinthe opens up at five. Musichetta very rarely works both shifts, but it’s been known to happen. The woman is an impossible blend of fierce diligence and cunning business sense, and Grantaire is happy to be of help.

So, it makes sense for him to walk over to the Corinthe, which is obviously also closed, but Grantaire thinks he might be able to see just a little bit of movement inside. It’s not going to hurt anything, so he knocks on the door. He waits patiently, and when nobody comes, Grantaire knocks on the door again, louder.

It’s Courfeyrac who opens the door. He doesn’t invite Grantaire in. Instead, he steps out onto the street with him, giving Grantaire a tense smile. Courfeyrac’s skin is washed out, dark circles under his eyes, and Grantaire can’t help but say, “Oh my god, are you okay?”

“Oh. Right. Don’t worry, I’m just stressed and tired, everything will be fine,” Courfeyrac says, and takes a deep breath. “Listen. We all love you, you know we do, but there’s, uh. Sneaky spy stuff going on. We’ve taken up pretty much the entire bar for this particular thing. You’re not involved in this stuff, which is more than fine. In fact, that is something we are very happy about, seriously, Enjolras is extremely happy about that, and we all love you very much, but-”

Grantaire pushes Courfeyrac aside and opens the door, stepping in while Courfeyrac makes a surprised noise and recovers.

Courfeyrac was not joking. There are papers everywhere, laptops set up all over the place, some sort of cork board yarn-covered thing visible behind the back room with now-open doors. Empty coffee mugs and glasses of alcohol are strewn across the tables. Joly and Bossuet are curled up sleeping on the couch in the corner, and he can see everyone else in their little club's private room in the back.

Bahorel is the first to see Grantaire, looking up from the back room’s table, eyes widening as he says, “Oh, shit.”

Courfeyrac says, “Wait, Grantaire-”

Something very loud in the back room crashes to the floor, and every single person in the room startles, jumping just a little bit.

That’s when Grantaire notices the guns on the back table. They’re all arranged nice and neatly, and Grantaire is actually glad that Courfeyrac grabs him by the shoulder. It keeps him upright when Enjolras comes walking out of the back room looking…looking something. Nervous and angry and so, so worried.

“Grantaire, you need to leave,” Enjolras says quickly, and Courfeyrac closes the door, moving away to give them a little more space. “You can’t be here, you need to be somewhere else. I was going to call in an hour, I thought you’d still be asleep.”

“What is this, Enjolras?” Grantaire asks, voice surprisingly stable.

“It’s something you aren’t involved in,” Enjolras says, and reaches up to hold a hand against Grantaire’s cheek. “Something you should be very far away from. Everything’s under control, you should go back and work on paintings, I know they’re-”

“I want to help,” Grantaire says firmly.

The look of absolute horror that crosses Enjolras’ face isn’t reassuring.

“No,” Enjolras says.

Grantaire frowns. “I know I wouldn’t be much help, but-”

No,” Enjolras says, desperate. He grips Grantaire’s shoulders, and Grantaire can feel he’s shaking. “No, no, you’re going to be far away from this, you’re going to go home and be warm and safe and happy and perfect and not here.”

“I can’t,” Grantaire says.

Please,” Enjolras says.

“Every single person I care about is here, Enjolras,” Grantaire says, praying Enjolras will understand. “Every single one. Let’s say I go home, I just stay there, and wait, and then if – if things go wrong, then I’m alone.”

He knows what the guns mean. He knows what all of this means, every single horrific detail. Maps, research, targets, guns, planning, midnight phone calls, Combeferre greeting Grantaire with a gun that very first night; whatever they’ve been talking about in the back room for all this time is finally happening.

“I can’t do that again, Enjolras,” Grantaire says, and he knows his voice is breaking. “I can’t. Not even for you.”

Grantaire can tell Enjolras understands. He spent months as a ghost, silent and alone unless he was scaring people away, intentionally keeping what little company he could’ve had as far from him as possible. It’s the same reason why Grantaire fell so fast and so hard for a fucking ghost, and why Enjolras did the same with Grantaire.

Enjolras understands, and from the way he pulls away with a tightly controlled breathing rhythm, Enjolras hates it.

“This isn’t a party, Grantaire,” Enjolras says. “This isn’t a club meeting, or some sort of game. People are going to get hurt. People are going to die. This is going to be rough and bloody and violent-”

“I’m not leaving you,” Grantaire says.

“You don’t fucking get it, you’re not even listening to me you stubborn – god, for fuck’s sake,” Enjolras says, and Grantaire can see the second Enjolras switches into ghost mode. It happens when he’s feeling too much, too powerful, too uncontrolled.

Enjolras regained a lot of things after the exorcism. The most dangerous one is pure unfocused rage.

Grantaire is the only one who doesn’t jump when Enjolras grabs a coffee mug and throws it against the wall. It’s followed by an empty glass, and that’s about enough of that so he grabs Enjolras’ arm and says, “I get it, fine, you’re big and scary and upset, now fucking stop it. This is Musichetta’s stuff you’re breaking.”

Enjolras shakes Grantaire’s hand off, but stops being half poltergeist at least. He turns to face Grantaire, glaring, and says, “You know why I was in a coma? I got shot. I got shot in the head, right through the side of my skull – my hair’s like this because they had to shave half of my head for brain surgery. It’s a fucking miracle I survived, let alone woke up-”

“You can’t scare me, Enjolras,” Grantaire says. “We established that about five seconds after we met. You can’t scare me away. I am staying. If you don’t want me to help, if you don’t want me involved, that’s fine. But I’m staying. I’m going to be with our friends, and I’m going to be with you, and there isn’t a single thing you could possibly say to convince me otherwise.”

For a very long time, they just glare at each other, and it’s fucking horrible. Grantaire can see how scared Enjolras is beneath the rage, and Enjolras can undoubtedly see Grantaire's desperation and pathetic loneliness.

Enjolras looks away first. He closes his eyes, like a very slow agonizing wince, and says, “Fine.”

“Thank you,” Grantaire breathes out, the relief almost painful in its intensity, and reaches forward to hold Enjolras’ forearm.

“You are physically present. You may talk to our friends. You may argue and debate. But if you so much as look in the back room, I’m kicking you out. Understand?” Enjolras says firmly.

“I do,” Grantaire says, and holds Enjolras’ hand in his own. “Thank you, Enjolras.”

Enjolras’ composure falters. He reaches up to brush hair out of Grantaire’s eyes for a moment, and then turns away. Enjolras walks into the back room, and shuts the door behind him.

The rest of the room is silent, everyone standing awkwardly nearby, clearly uncertain of what protocol is for being a good friend.

Grantaire takes pity on them.

He breaks the ice with a convincing small easy laugh and walks over to the bar, ignoring Feuilly. “Well, get back to it,” he says, and pours himself a drink.

---

They create a system: all planning happens in the back room, and all equipment and cartography and just basically all the gear is in the rest of the bar. Enjolras never comes out, and Grantaire never goes in, and their friends pretend not to notice.

Feuilly keeps on frowning at the drinks Grantaire pours himself, but he’s usually in with Enjolras, so that’s not a major problem. The only time Grantaire has seen Enjolras is when food is delivered, and Enjolras silently avoids meeting his eyes, already dragging himself back into the planning room. Grantaire tries very hard to not be hurt by that.

Bahorel is the first to leave, at an oh so reasonable two in the morning – twenty six hours is pushing it, he says. He’ll be useless without some actual sleep. Joly and Bossuet leave half an hour later, and slowly, slowly, people give in to the fact they’re human.

When Bahorel comes back at eight in the morning, followed by Jehan barely a minute later, Combeferre and Courfeyrac start to sag, and start to look tired, and Grantaire can hear them trying to talk Enjolras into leaving, or at least taking a nap, or doing something.

Eventually, Courfeyrac needs to leave, nearly falls off his feet at ten in the morning. He stops to frown at Grantaire, though, saying, “Wait, you’ve – are you still here? Awake? Are you asleep?”

“Go home and sleep, Courfeyrac,” Grantaire says, waving him off, and stays in his spot at their table, nice and out of the way.

Grantaire has been wisely cleaning up after himself, so when Feuilly comes in he’s just frowning again and not furious, which is good.

At two in the afternoon, Combeferre breaks.

It’s hard to hear from the other side of the doors, but Grantaire hears something fall with a thump, and then raised voices, and finally the doors slam open, making the wall shake with the force of it.

“-completely unproductive, everything is blurring, only God knows how this could impact your recovery. Have you even been awake for more than twenty hours, at the most?” Combeferre demands, swaying but still glaring at Enjolras.

“Get some sleep,” Enjolras orders from inside the room.

“If you do, I will,” Combeferre says firmly. He must not like what he sees, because he looks around the room until he spots Grantaire and his eyes light up with a triumphant fire. “Grantaire! Come here.”

“That’s not a good idea,” Grantaire says, and when Combeferre looks confused, he holds up a finger, counting them off. “First, I might see inside. That’s a no-no. Secondly, I am, on principle, disobeying everyone right now. My own personal expression of autonomy. Third, and most importantly, I would probably fall down, because I am obscenely drunk.”

“I fucking knew it,” Feuilly hisses at him.

“Now, now, let’s not make mountains out of molehills, my friend,” Grantaire says, waving his concern off with an elegant flick of his wrist. “In the end, what's the difference between sober and inebriation? It’s just a few chemicals between friendly neurons, smoothing out the rough patches-”

“Jesus Christ, how much have you had to drink?” Feuilly asks, because he was clever enough to actually look in the bin. Admittedly, there are quite a few bottles that made their way from the shelf to Grantaire to the recycling, hopefully. Recycling is good for the environment.

“I’ve never seen him drunk before,” Bahorel says, smiling, and Grantaire smiles back at him.

“There’s a reason,” Feuilly bites out, and looks very, very frustrated. A little bit panicked, too. “Grantaire, you were. You-”

“Feuilly, now is not the time,” Grantaire says, and takes another drink, ignoring the noise Feuilly makes. “You may shout when I’m suitably hung over, for maximum effectiveness.”

“Fine,” Feuilly says, the concern overpowering his anger. “Let’s get you home.”

“I am going absolutely nowhere,” Grantaire says calmly. “I’m not leaving him.”

The room is very quiet. Grantaire just keeps looking at his glass, not interested in getting involved. Not interested in anything, really.

“This is your fault,” Feuilly says darkly.

“I know,” Grantaire says.

“Not you, him,” Feuilly says, vicious, pointing towards where Enjolras is standing in the doorway. He’s silent and still, frozen, and Grantaire is starting to worry that Feuilly is going to punch him.

“Enjolras didn’t do anything,” Grantaire says.

Exactly,” Feuilly shouts. He clearly didn’t get enough sleep.

Grantaire has learned to not get drunk. Even tipsy is a bad idea. He’s been almost completely sober for the past two months, which is a rare achievement. He was almost proud of it. Almost. He’s been controlled, he’s been subtle, he’s been good, and he doesn’t give a fuck anymore because everyone he loves is probably going to die and he doesn’t even know how or why.

And so, Grantaire laughs.

“What, you think he shoved a bottle in my hand and demanded I chug? Told me to drink, or else? My choices are my own, Feuilly. They always have been,” Grantaire says, and sighs, tilting slightly to the side. “The entire concept of someone else’s actions or mere existence driving someone to drink is absurd. It’s the alcoholic’s version of whining about the friendzone.”

“No it’s not, Grantaire,” Feuilly says. “At all.”

Grantaire just waves him off. “The point, Feuilly, is that Enjolras is not the one you should shout at. And, again, we’ve established that you’ll do that during my spectacular upcoming hangover. Really, there’s no need for any action at all at this particular moment. We simply acknowledge that I am drunk, and move on with our lives. Simple, logical, and effective. So. As you were, gentlemen.”

The room continues to be quiet and still, although Enjolras shifts, slightly.

“Stop it,” Combeferre says.

“I’m not doing anything,” Enjolras says quickly, in that way that means he actually is.

“Not yet,” Combeferre mutters, and then rocks, slightly. He shakes his head. “This is absurd. Enjolras, take Grantaire home, sleep, and we can come back to this. Courfeyrac will be back soon and he can take over with. Stuff.”

“He’s not here yet,” Enjolras says.

“Enjolras, you’ve been awake for almost forty hours,” Combeferre says, which Grantaire isn’t sure works out, but he said almost and math has never been his thing, so. “Everything isn’t going to fall apart without you here to directly supervise us. Them. It. With everything.”

“Combeferre, you need to sleep,” Grantaire says, smiling fondly at him. Combeferre’s a pretty great guy, so sure, Grantaire can help out. “Don’t worry, I’ve got him.”

“Do you,” Enjolras says.

And hey, look, it’s the first time Enjolras has acknowledged he exists in over twenty four hours.

“Oh, I’ve got you so pinned down you’re practically one of Combeferre’s moths,” Grantaire says. “Because I’m not leaving unless you leave, and deep down, you are desperate to get out of here, to have no responsibilities, not a care in the world.” He smiles again, even if it's not nice. Just to prove his point, he adds, “Isn’t that right, sugar.”

Yes, Enjolras knows exactly what Grantaire is saying. That naughty little free-and-easy poltergeist yearning is just bubbling oh so quietly in Enjolras’ heart.

It’s the wrong thing to say.

Enjolras closes down, and for once, he doesn’t argue. He doesn’t do anything. He just turns around and heads back into the planning room.

“Feuilly, take him home,” Enjolras says quietly, closing the doors behind him.

Grantaire feels like he’s been stabbed. It’s straight through the chest, just a couple of ribs below his collarbone, one long rusty knife thrust in sharply and yanked out just as quickly.

“I’m not leaving,” Grantaire says again, softer this time, and ignores everything but his drink.

There’s a long gap of time where Grantaire doesn’t know what’s happening and what’s not,doesn't want to know, and then he finds himself with a Jehan sitting next to him, gently setting up a video on a laptop in front of them. “Enjolras wants you to see this,” Jehan says, almost apologetic.

“I assume this is the video of him getting shot in the head,” Grantaire says, and takes another drink. When Jehan just nods, Grantaire feels like he’s going to be sick. “No offense, but I’d rather skip it.”

“Which is why you need to watch it,” Jehan says, and presses play.

It’s a very short video, barely a thirty second clip from a stationary camera. Enjolras is on a stage looking like beautiful righteous rage made human, standing just a few steps back and to the side of an older man at a podium giving a very passionate speech. The crowd is obviously riled up, but the video doesn’t give Grantaire time to focus on that.

The speaker goes down fast, one very precise bullet going into his chest, followed by another, and another, and finally Enjolras gets him pulled down behind the minimal cover of the podium. People are running around screaming, and he can see all of their friends trying to help, trying to do something, but it’s so fast. Enjolras is behind the podium with the dying man for probably fifteen seconds, maybe twenty, people occasionally trying to get over and quickly running back to cover, and it makes no sense. It makes no fucking sense, because Enjolras bursts out from behind the podium and runs, runs like he has somewhere else to be rather than someone getting shot at, and it’s not even a surprise when Enjolras makes it barely halfway across the stage and gets shot and blood flies and he drops and Grantaire stops watching.

“He can’t scare me away, Jehan,” Grantaire finally says. He has to say it over and over again. “I’m staying.”

Combeferre is the next attempt. It’s five in the afternoon, and Courfeyrac has barely taken off his coat when Combeferre peeks his head out. He spots Courfeyrac, and says, “Oh, thank god, I’m going home now.”

“Take Grantaire with you,” Enjolras says, barely audible.

“I’m not leaving,” Grantaire says. It’s lost a lot of its punch since Grantaire put his head down on the table and isn’t quite able to lift it again.

In the end, nobody listens to Grantaire. They pour water down Grantaire’s throat, try to get him a little more sober, or at least functional. It works well enough that everyone (excluding Feuilly) is happy to see Grantaire can actually walk around mostly okay.

Combeferre shares a taxi with Grantaire even though they don’t live very close to each other. He stays long enough to make sure Grantaire gets in the building and into the elevator, and then takes off, which, good for him. Combeferre was about to fall over anyway.

There’s no point in locking his apartment’s door, so Grantaire just plain old doesn’t. Nobody would ever come in, except it looks like someone kicked the door in or something. Grantaire frowns and walks in.

His reflexes really aren’t that great, so he just kind of frowns at the strange people ripping up his apartment, bashing through walls, ruining his poor already ruined furniture.

The wisest course of action would be to leave again and hopefully call someone who is sober over to investigate whether or not he’s hallucinating. Or to just call someone in general.

Instead, Grantaire frowns, slumping against the wall, and says, “Where’s a poltergeist when you need one.”

Most of the five people ruining everything Grantaire owns in an unwelcome manner don’t hear him, but the two closest to him do. One of them, unfortunately, seems to be the boss. He charges Grantaire immediately, and Grantaire’s so drunk he only manages to dodge a couple of times before something hits him in the head and he’s unconscious.

---

Fainting couch, Grantaire thinks when he’s slapped awake.

“Where is it?” one of the people says. He’s probably a he. Grantaire is tied to a chair and there are three people still destroying his poor apartment while this guy stands in front of the chair to which Grantaire is tied. His head hurts a lot, but he can see straight, and almost think straight.

“I’ve got no clue what you’re talking about, I’m just the plumber,” Grantaire says.

The man holds up one of the framed pictures Grantaire has accumulated over the months, and it is quite possibly the most ridiculous one of all. Jehan’s birthday party had been vampire-themed, and Enjolras and Grantaire are as appropriately dressed as they could manage. After Jehan declared he was going to be Dracula, it was secretly decided that everyone else would dress up as a bride of Dracula, which Jehan had loved. But the point is they’re both dressed as brides with blood dripping down their throats, so really it’s just not exactly a picture Grantaire wants shown in a sweet moving slideshow at his funeral.

“Why did you pick the one where I’m in a costume?” Grantaire can’t help but ask.

“That’s not important,” the man says. “What’s important is you telling me where it is before things get unpleasant.”

“Okay, I admit I’m not the plumber, but I really don’t know what you’re asking me for,” Grantaire says honestly. “I’ve only lived here for a little over six months and some really weird shit went down with the tenants before me-”

“Don’t treat me like an idiot,” the man says, and holds the picture up again, pointing at Enjolras, and ah. That’s why he picked this picture. It’s the only one where it’s just Enjolras and Grantaire. “If you know him, you’re involved.”

“Look, I get what you’re saying, but I really don’t know. Really. Enjolras is into stuff, but I’m not, I’m just his boyfriend. He doesn’t tell me anything,” Grantaire says, and can’t help it. He laughs. “Because he thinks that clearly, it will keep me safe. Yes, I feel so safe in this situation.”

That actually gets through to the man. He frowns from the picture to Grantaire and then the apartment.

Grantaire sighs, and gives the man a direct, honest look in the eye. “Look, do you have a someone?” The man nods. “Would you tell them what you’re doing right now?”

“No,” the man admits.

“Neither does he,” Grantaire says. “And Enjolras is gone, so really, all you can do is destroy my poor apartment hoping you’ll find whatever you’re looking for. But, that’s what you were already doing. I’m seriously just here to nap before I get back to work – I am a barista and a bartender, yes, that grimace is definitely an appropriate reaction to my daily schedule – and then I’ll be out of your hair. No harm done, except to all my personal belongings.” He pauses. “Are you sure you picked the right place? I mean, Enjolras doesn’t even live here. It’s just me. The only time he’s ever alone here is when I’m in the shower.”

The man frowns, looking around at the unproductive wreckage. “It’s supposed to be the right place,” he says, and then looks back at Grantaire. “Where do you think we should be looking?”

“Again, I repeat, Enjolras tells me absolutely nothing,” Grantaire says.

“Right, sorry,” the man says, nodding, and sighs. “You might be right. We’ve been ripping the place up for the last two hours and haven’t found it.”

“What’s it, anyway?” Grantaire asks. When the man shoots him a suspicious look, Grantaire shrugs as best he can. “You’d be curious too.”

“True,” the man says. “Honestly, I’m not sure, but the tracking beacon finally went off a couple days ago, and it came from in here.”

Grantaire makes himself let out a long, frustrated sigh and says, “Oh.”

“Oh? Oh what? Do you know something?” the man asks.

Grantaire hesitates, but says, “So I maybe intentionally broke into one of Enjolras’ suitcases the other night.”

“Where is it now?” the man asks sharply.

Grantaire scowls and says, “Wherever he is. He just takes these trips sometimes and god, it just makes me so mad, he’s such a terrible boyfriend. He’ll probably be gone for another week or two, like alwaysnot helped, to say the least,” Grantaire says. “Do you have any idea how long it’s going to take for me to fix everything? All because of you tracking a stupid suitcase?

“Shit, I’m sorry, but we’re just doing our job,” the man says.

“Just untie me, let me go to bed, and get out. Everyone’s time is just being wasted here,” Grantaire says.

And they actually do.

They untie Grantaire very last, leaving everything in a completely miserable pile of shattered belongings that has none of the charm left by one of ghost Enjolras’ fits.

It is very tempting to go to bed, just like he’d said he would, but Grantaire thinks that maybe this was kind of important, so he finds his phone under some debris on the kitchen counter, and calls Enjolras.

When Enjolras answers, Grantaire starts thinking he probably should’ve called Courfeyrac instead. “Grantaire, I’m sorry, but I can’t,” Enjolras says, soft and completely exhausted.

“I’m calling because I was just tied to a chair while people ripped open the walls of my apartment,” Grantaire says.

What?!” Enjolras shouts so loudly that Grantaire winces and has to pull the phone away from his ear. The volume stays consistent, because even with it held out, Enjolras is perfectly understandable after his little fit of panicking. “Are you okay? Oh god, I’m on my – we are on our way, oh my god.”

Grantaire eyes the marble counters in his kitchen, and says, “Bring a sledgehammer.”

---

Grantaire is napping on the floor with his slightly less destroyed pillows and his thankfully intact blankets when Enjolras and company come running into the apartment. There’s a wide variety of reactions, but they all more or less come down to holy shit, excluding Enjolras, who just runs right over to Grantaire’s little cocoon and starts patting him down and checking for some sort of wounds and Grantaire bats his hands away.

“I was so worried,” Enjolras says, completely ignoring Grantaire's attempts to stop the useless examination. Enjolras is wildly unhinged, sleep deprived and panic-driven, and won’t stop touching Grantaire.

Finally, Grantaire is immensely tempted to just grab him and pull him into the tiny snuggle pile he’s managed to make. Instead, he bats Enjolras’ hands away again and stands on unsteady legs, saying, “I have come to the conclusion that there is something important hidden in my apartment.”

“Shocking,” Enjolras says.

“Yes, I know, you warned me,” Grantaire says, but Enjolras frowns, confused. “The dangerous thing you scared everyone away from? The whole reason you were trying to get me out of the apartment? The entire reason you were haunting this place?”

“Oh, right,” Enjolras says, and Grantaire remembers that he has been awake for a very, very long time.

“So, here’s my theory. Whatever tracker thing the guy was talking about had a signal that you were keeping in check as a ghost, and guarding that was the whole point of being a ghost. I exorcised the last bits of you, and you get your memories back, but the tracker turns back on after one hundred days because your ghostly influence is gone,” Grantaire says. “Now, we find out what the thing is.”

“You are so smart,” Enjolras says, and kisses him on the cheek.

Enjolras really obviously needs to get some sleep. He is completely useless and loopy and Grantaire is sort of worried they’re both going to fall down. Now is absolutely not the time for big life-changing events. He’s pretty sure that if all goes well, he’s going to just end up sleeping on the floor with Enjolras for twelve hours.

“Bring forth the sledgehammer,” Grantaire says, and points to the island in his kitchen.

Naturally, it’s Bahorel who has the sledgehammer. He glances from Grantaire to the island and then back before saying, “You sure about this?”

“Bahorel, have you been in my bathroom?” Grantaire asks.

“What, the tiny one with all the shitty old tile and ugly tub that – oh,” Bahorel says, and looks around, considering the fact that the kitchen is by far the fanciest thing in the entire apartment. Everything else in the apartment is very standard and nowhere near the same quality. The island is just a big slab of granite on top of wood that's excellent additional counter space and absolutely nothing else. No sink, no appliances, nothing beyond cupboard doors. “Huh.”

“Smash it,” Grantaire says.

Bahorel gleefully obeys. It takes a few swings, but eventually it cracks and breaks apart into large pieces that everyone has to lift and move and Joly looks beneath and says, “Holy shit.”

The first thing he pulls out is a gun, and then a couple more, along with ammunition. That’s not exactly surprising. What is surprising is how everyone gasps and starts talking loudly when Joly begins to pull out papers. File folders, binders, notebooks, it’s all dragged out of the shattered remains of Grantaire’s kitchen. It’s all followed by CDs, and flash drives, and then an entire portable hard drive that they actually shout and squeal over.

Tucked inside of a random folder is a tiny black thing, barely as big as Grantaire’s thumbnail. It is squished immediately.

Enjolras is flipping through one of the binders, gaping at the contents, eyes wide. “This is everything. It’s – who has treasury records?”

Jehan gleefully raises a hand and says, “We can slaughter everyone!

Grantaire tries to be reassured by the cheer that erupts around the room.

“It’s Lamarque’s information cache,” Courfeyrac eventually takes the time to explain, still close to bouncing. “He spent almost forty years collecting information on the corruption he dealt with on a daily basis, but didn’t act on it until they tried to pass-”

“So this is what you guys needed,” Grantaire says. “All of this stuff is what you’ve been working over the past couple of days.”

Courfeyrac grins, and nods. “Even one of these folders could stop the amendment from going through. With this much information, who knows how far we can go?”

Grantaire smiles for him, and tells everyone good job, and he takes his pile of blankets and pillows into his bedroom. The mattress is ripped apart, but he can still put a blanket over it and it functions well enough. It’s desperate times.

This isn’t going to be the end of things. People were already ripping apart his apartment just at the thought of finding the cache. They probably won’t hesitate to rip through people too. They already assassinated Lamarque and did their best to take Enjolras out too.

He manages to sleep, and doesn’t enjoy it.

---

The full hangover is nowhere near as bad as Grantaire expected, particularly since he wakes up to Enjolras curled around him. His shockingly intact clock says it’s nearly midnight. Again.

Enjolras is sleeping so deeply that he’s drooling on the pillow beneath his head, mouth slack, breath slow and heavy. He obviously tried not to wake Grantaire when he finally came to bed, because it workedm and Grantaire is usually a very light sleeper. The curtains are closed, and there’s a water bottle waiting on Grantaire’s nightstand.

If it wasn’t for the broken remains of every single thing in his bedroom, Grantaire could almost pretend nothing happened.

He’s careful about getting out of bed, no matter how soundly Enjolras is sleeping, and walks quietly out of the bedroom.

Everyone did an admirable job of trying to fix things before they left. The walls are still down to wooden beams and insulation, and his furniture is slashed apart, but at least the floor is clean and everything is set up as closely as they could manage to the old layout. His kitchen island is entirely gone, leaving an empty space of battered hardwood that sat beneath the cache. The front door is fixed, too.

He finds a sketchbook and pencils in one of the politely ordered piles his friends left for him, and sits on the floor, and draws.

Grantaire’s style changed right along with his hand, but it suits him better, he thinks. It’s less delicate, less tentative. Now, he just fucking goes for it. If he messes up, fine, on to the next page. There’s always another sketchbook.

There are no clocks, so he doesn’t know what time Courfeyrac comes in. Nobody bothers locking the door, and Courfeyrac is quiet about it, coming in with the dawn light and setting a newspaper on the barely standing kitchen table with a happy hum.

“Morning,” Grantaire says, and Courfeyrac nearly jumps out of his skin. Grantaire does his best to smile at him. “How are things?”

“They’re amazing,” Courfeyrac says, and grabs the newspaper again, holding it up so Grantaire can see the headline CORRUPTION EXPOSED! There’s a lineup of politicians on the front page, like mug shots, and a huge front page article that Grantaire doesn’t reach for. Courfeyrac doesn’t seem offended, and just puts it back on the table for when Enjolras finally wakes up. “You don’t know it, Grantaire, but you might have saved the world.”

“This is why Enjolras got shot in the head,” Grantaire says quietly.

“I can guarantee Enjolras knows that and is just fine with it,” Courfeyrac says.

Grantaire shakes his head. “No, I mean,” he says, and points at where the kitchen island used to be. “Lamarque told him where it is, I think. When he was dying behind the podium. Enjolras knew people had somehow gotten a tracker in there – my bet is Lamarque himself put it there and the bad guys just picked up the signal – and he thought he must get to it, and he ran for it, and he got shot in the head, and just assumed he’d die and bam, he’s a ghost haunting this apartment.”

“It’s in the past, Grantaire,” Courfeyrac says. “There’s nothing you can do to change the past. There’s no point in worrying about it.”

“My point is that he’s going to do it again,” Grantaire says. “He just – you’ve seen the footage, Courfeyrac. He just fucking ran, didn’t think, just reacted and burst out without a care-”

“He’s different now,” Courfeyrac says.

Grantaire scoffs. “Right, because the past few days of him-”

“He’s different, Grantaire,” Courfeyrac says firmly. “You didn’t know him before. He was…colder. A lot colder, dismissive of anything not work related. Now, he’s anything but. You didn’t see him in that little back room of ours, but he was not disinterested in our trivial little lives. He still loved us before the coma, of course, but he did it in a distant way. Thanks to you, he laughs and jokes and even played a prank on Combeferre that one time. That isn't the kind of person who throws his life away.”

Grantaire can’t think of anything to say, simply nodding instead and hoping it'll be more reassuring later.

“Look, here,” Courfeyrac says, and pulls out his phone, flipping through his gallery until he gets to a video.

The first thing that strikes Grantaire is how much younger everyone looks. They’re younger, and lighter, and Grantaire can’t tell what everyone is celebrating but it involves ridiculous party hats. It’s a short video, mostly of all of their friends goofing around, but Grantaire is looking for it, and the video doesn’t disappoint. There sits Enjolras in the back of the group, not smiling, not wearing a party hat, just scowling at something on his phone. Absolutely none of them seem surprised or upset. Someone shouts something at Enjolras that Grantaire can’t make out through the speakers, and he glances up to nod and give the speaker a small but genuine smile, and goes right back to his phone as the recording swings away.

These days, Enjolras would not only be wearing a party hat but would also be leaning forward on the table, a full participant, smiling and laughing. He still doesn’t talk very much when it’s just friends messing around, but he’s there with them through every joke and story, usually with Grantaire’s hand in his own.

For the first time, Grantaire starts to think that maybe Enjolras wasn’t lonely and desperate for a friend just because of the poltergeist thing.

“He’s happier with you than I’ve ever seen him. Ever,” Courfeyrac says, and puts a hand on Grantaire’s shoulder. “Enjolras might be an idiot sometimes, but he’s smart enough to never throw that away.”

Something inside of Grantaire goes calm and soft.

“It’s mutual,” Grantaire says, and can finally smile.

---

“At least you just threw my furniture around,” Grantaire says in the morning, looking at the tragic remains of his apartment.

“Yes, I was very considerate, wasn’t I,” Enjolras says, and drops another kiss on the top of Grantaire’s head.

Enjolras is frustratingly snuggly and giddy and it really doesn’t work that great when you don’t have somewhere to sit beyond rickety wooden chairs at the barely stable kitchen table. Enjolras has s been rereading the newspaper Courfeyrac dropped off since he woke up, doing a lot of texting and phone calls, and generally just doing his job.

That’s the most reassuring thing about the current situation. There are no guns. There’s no clear and present mortal peril. There’s Enjolras being some kind of ruthless whistleblower intent on bringing the dirty bits of the government down. Cutting out the cancer, Enjolras had said once. It wasn’t exactly reassuring to hear, but at least it lets Grantaire know what’s actually going on.

Grantaire is currently making a list of shit he has to buy. Again. It is depressingly long.

“Seriously, with you it was just, oh, looks like I have to pull some forks out of the wall and get all the chairs off of my couch,” Grantaire says. “Now I’m missing half of my kitchen. I liked that counter space.”

“Maybe I could help with that,” Enjolras says, strangely awkward even though he’s still a smiling fool.

Grantaire can’t help but look at him fondly. “I sort of assumed you’d be helping,” he says. “What’s the point of a boyfriend if they don’t help with heavy lifting?”

“Of course I’ll help with that, but I meant with the furniture,” Enjolras says, and clears his throat. “I have some you could use.”

Grantaire frowns. “What, like a storage locker? Is this scary dorm bachelor pad furniture? I’m desperate, but not that desperate.”

“No, I’m,” Enjolras says, and stops, frowning at Grantaire. “I’m trying to subtly ask if I can move in with you, but subtle is never effective. Grantaire, I am asking if I can move in with you. In the living together way. I have furniture, it would be moved in along with me and my belongings. Plus I know you like my mattress better than yours.”

It takes a minute, but eventually Grantaire finds the air to say, “Oh.”

“And I know we were talking about it before all of this,” Enjolras says, motioning to the very much destroyed walls of the apartment. “But things are different. I’m going to be working pretty much constantly because of all this, you probably need your own personal space, and I know I want to but you might not. If you say no, that’s fine. Really. We have an excellent already established policy on not yet in our relationship, which I don’t want to rush.” He smiles. “We have plenty of time.”

“I,” Grantaire manages to say, and then looks around the apartment. “Are you sure? This isn’t, I mean, you’d be moving in here. Even I’m not sure I want to live here.” This apartment has been nothing but miserable and so much work it might not even be worth the absurdly cheap price he pays for it. Grantaire has no walls. The apartment looks more suited to the before picture in a construction how-to book than anything else.

“I am very sure, Grantaire,” Enjolras says.

But, Enjolras came with this apartment.

Enjolras is absolutely worth the pain of living here. If Enjolras is with him, Grantaire is ecstatic to be here too. Besides, he's had worse.

“Well, it worked before,” Grantaire says, and smiles. “We’ll see how it goes when you’re not incorporeal.”