Chapter 1: Prologue
If the world should end right now
If the walls came crashing down
I’d be right here by your side
I’d be right here by your side
These are the days of our freedom
These are the days of our lives
These are the days, these are the days
And they’ll last forever
(London Rain, Neon Jungle)
Remember when we sang
We made echoes off the green house walls
The harmonies we made
Are ghosts a-wandering these halls
Who wants you
Who haunts you
Echoes dancing in our blood to some refrain
Shadows take our places here in this ballet
(Spirited Away, Lily & Madeleine)
On a moonless night in a burned out building
Your heavy cries were floating
Seems all your life has needed mending
So you cut the ties to the old things
(Long Lost Century, The Woodlands)
Enjolras sat on the window ledge with his back resting against the wall and the tips of his wings brushing the worn wooden floor.
It was the window where he’d fallen from, the one where he’d died.
And tomorrow it was being demolished.
Structurally unsound, the Musain had been derelict for years, now only home to rats and pigeons. It had been condemned years ago but the demolition crew had only moved in last week and tomorrow the building was going. Razed to the ground and a new shopping centre was going to be built.
This was the last sunset Enjolras would see from here.
The street outside had changed, the people had changed and now finally the last remnant of the past was now changing too.
Enjolras wasn’t averse to change. In fact he welcomed it; it reminded him what he had fought for long ago, when he was human. Change was exciting, change was good.
Still, his heart ached this evening, looking out at the sky as it deepened to oranges and pinks and reds. His soul yearned for what he had lost that night, the night he’d died in 1832. He’d lost his cause, he’d lost friends and he’d lost his life.
His cause had been realised eventually, history moving on, gathering pace. Now, in the twentieth century change was happening everywhere.
And even losing his life hadn’t been the end. He’d woken up in the company of strangers to find he now had wings, that he was now an angel.
But his friends, his friends had not become angels, they had been buried. No one even present at their funeral- they deserved so much more.
It was just him. Enjolras the angel.
He hadn’t planned on becoming an angel; he didn’t know why he even was one. There was been no tunnel of light, no pearly gates where he was given a choice. He just opened his eyes in the darkness and felt, on his back, the most extraordinary thing, wings.
His wings were an off white colour, prone to getting quite dirty especially if he didn’t tuck them in and just let them drag on the floor which happened quite often when he was distracted. This evening the sky was turning his feathers a burnished copper-gold colour.
Enjolras no longer wore his nineteenth century clothes, instead he wore plain dark trousers, and a plain white shirt. It was uniform of sorts, although heaven’s angels could mostly wear what they wanted they tended to veer towards smarter looking clothes. They took inspiration from the human fashions of the day but still erred on the more professional side of things.
Angels were rarely visible to humans, unless there was a pressing need they tended to stay unseen. Babies were the only exception; they could see angels, their young human eyes allowing them to see the smart, slightly glowing figures with wings. A select few humans could also see them; those with supernatural gifts, the ones whose souls ran close to the spirit world.
Nobody could see Enjolras up here, sitting on the window ledge, one knee brought up with his arms clasped around it.
He tipped his head back against the wall until his golden curls became slightly squashed as he closed his eyes and remembered that night.
It was becoming fuzzy as the years passed. Faces and voices were fading; he couldn’t remember where people were in relation to one another when he’d talked to them. There was only one thing he remembered with absolute clarity and that was the desperate hand gripping his just one moment before it ended. He remembers the green eyes, the dark, eternally messy hair and the feeling of his palm on his.
He’d belittled Grantaire, snubbed him, rebuked him for not helping, for prophesying doom and failure. But in the end, he’d stood with him and died with him.
And whilst things had worked out in the long term for people’s freedoms- still a long way to go but progressing every day- in the immediate aftermath of the revolution Enjolras had sunk into the throes of despair.
When, a few days or so after the event, he’d flown back to the spot where it had all happened the barricade had been cleared away, the bodies now six feet below fresh soil and he’d seen Marius, clambering laboriously up to the first floor.
He’d stopped in shock. He’d thought they’d all died! But here was Marius, looking worse for wear, but still, alive!
He’d followed his friend, unseen and wondering at how he could be breathing, when he himself was not- not really.
And then he’d seen Marius wander dejectedly around the upstairs of the café and he’d heard the words ‘Don’t ask me what your sacrifice was for!’ and he’d broken down and cried. Cried so hard that the other angels had to come and take him away.
It was a dark time for Enjolras. He’d been given a chance to live again, but what a chance, when his friends were nearly all dead, when Marius was crippled both with guilt and wounds and all because of him. And for what? The people had not risen. They were continuing as normal. Their deaths meant nothing. And it was all his fault.
It had nearly ended him a second time. It took a very long time for him to come out of the clutches of despair, to hope again. To live again.
He began to undertake small tasks that the archangels gave him. Answer a little girl’s prayer here, help a widower there. And through helping people, doing his angel work Enjolras discovered how to hope again. Every human he helped he gained more in hope and inspiration. If they could live and take the hope that he gave them, then he could hope in return.
Time passed differently in heaven to earth. For Enjolras it had been around half a century since he had been killed. Angels could travel to anytime in history, they flitted backwards and forwards, helping out where necessary.
Now, Enjolras was in the mid twentieth century, and when he looked around he was full of hope. Changes were happening all over. And this time, people were answering. It was a heady time to be alive in.
Still, being back here at the Musain it was bringing the hurt and sorrow back. He’d foolishly thought it would stick around forever, it had been here a couple of hundred years, what’s a couple more? But Enjolras forgot, angels don’t age, they don’t decay, humans, plants, animals and even buildings did.
It was his last physical contact with his past. And it was silly really to get emotional over it. It was far gone, decaying and rotting inside and out, it was a wonder this ledge was still surviving.
He’d stay here tonight and move on in the morning.
But it was difficult. He could see out of the corner of his eye the point where Grantaire had emerged. The moment where Enjolras had been prepared to die, bracing himself for the impact of bullets and then, moving past the soldiers in the room, Grantaire had materialised.
Enjolras had thought he was alone and had been ready to die alone, so he thought. But with Grantaire appearing he realised he hadn’t wanted to die alone. The relief at seeing the cynic had been overwhelming. And it was only now, many, many years later that he realised how deep his feelings went. He was able, with time and space, to think over that moment, the way you run your tongue over a sore tooth. It hurts but you keep doing it.
He realised he cared for the man. That stupid man who hadn’t believed in anything. Who’d made mistake after mistake but still kept coming to be a part. Enjolras didn’t know why Grantaire had kept coming but he was eternally grateful the cynic had. He’d provided comfort, right at the end, and not let Enjolras die alone. Now Enjolras knew what dying was like he was glad it had been the two of them at the end. He wouldn’t wish a lonely death on anyone, although the angels never let anyone die alone. There’s always one of them there. But you don’t know that as a human, and Enjolras had felt alone, until a tight grip had encircled his hand and it was the last thing he felt.
Enjolras swallowed thickly.
Why was he an angel and Grantaire not?
Grantaire didn’t even believe yet he’d lain down his life for his friends and for him. Enjolras couldn’t see why it wasn’t Grantaire in his place now.
He’d chased this thought over and over during the years and whilst yes, part of him thought that Grantaire fully deserved to be rewarded by heaven for his selflessness, a part of Enjolras, a larger part, also just wanted to see him again.
For you see, Enjolras was in love with him.
How had he not realised this when he was mortal?
How had he not seen Grantaire for what he was? He’d focused on the outer image Grantaire put across and never once truly looked at the man. The real man, the man behind the troubles, behind the snark and the jesting. He’d never once truly looked at Grantaire.
He did it all the time now, as an angel. He could look at a human and see their soul.
He didn’t need to look at Grantaire to see his good soul. He’d experienced that first hand, but by then it was far too late. He was gone.
A tear trickled from Enjolras’s eye and down his marble cheek. He couldn’t help it. It hurt when you remembered someone you loved.
He’d paced these rotten floorboard so many times, talking about revolution and the future and he’d let the present slip away from him. There had never been time for love in his life; love was a waste of time. Let others love, he didn’t need it, he didn’t want it.
He still wasn’t sure he wanted it but he had no choice, it was there, weighing on his chest, constricting his breathing, reminding him every time he inhaled that something was missing. That Grantaire was gone.
He’d realised too late. And now there was nothing to do about it.
Sometime, when the sun was peeking up and over and around the Parisian buildings. Enjolras stopped. It was time to move. The past was the past and he had work to do. He stood and stretched, his wings flaring out before settling back into a tucked position. Enjolras stepped onto the ledge and took off into the morning air, leaving the Musain and painful thoughts of the man he loved behind him.
Grantaire had always teased him for his ideals. Which of them had been right?
Both, he mused.
What are you afraid of?
Making it better
Keep it by your side now
Whatever the weather
Keep it together
Keep it together
What did you do?
Wonder where your heart came from
What have you done?
My only friend keep on
Wander or leave
Turn into winter lights
Keeping your strength
When it gets dark at night
(Sights, London Grammar)
Angels rarely revealed themselves to humans.
But sometimes, there was a need for them to materialise, to have a direct cosmic influence on the outcome of situations down on Earth.
The darkness and the light were constantly in conflict. Angels the agents of light and demons the agents of darkness.
These battles were played out on Earth, humans as the proxy agents through which the great cosmic forces clashed.
These conflicts were constantly happening, every time a human made a choice the balance changed. Most were minor, lies and truths spilling from human lips. Angels chivvied humans one way by sending positive vibes to surround humans, to comfort them in times of need, sorrow, loss, confusion. But demons also harassed, creating swirling miasma’s of negativity, corrupting humans, spreading despair and pain. This was mostly all on a low scale, happening all over the world.
But sometimes, sometimes there were conflicts of great importance. Where the decisions of certain humans had huge consequences for the fate of the universe.
It was at these times that the angels took a more direct involvement in the affairs of humans and headed to earth, to blend in and try to personally influence the humans in their charge to make the positive decisions.
Enjolras had done this many times before. But this time it was different.
‘Why’ it wasn’t even a question, just a statement
‘We didn’t foresee this situation becoming as important as it did.’
‘Don’t swear Enjolras’
‘You know what happens, you know everything that happens. You have one of the strongest prophesying teams in the whole faculty. There is no way you did not see this coming.’
‘Don’t screw me around Valjean. Why did you not tell me before now?’
‘It has become far more important than it first seemed’
‘Not good enough’
‘Enjolras what do you want me to say?’
‘Why did you not tell me he comes back!’ yelled Enjolras, slamming his fist on Archangel Valjean’s desk.
‘Because I was afraid you would react like this!’ shouted Valjean in return.
Enjolras turned on the sport, breathing heavily, not looking at the archangel. It was something he could hardly believe. He was very sceptical of reincarnation anyway ‘Who’s to say it’s even him?’ he asked, whirling back to face his boss.
‘I do not like your attitude’ Valjean sniffed.
‘You never like my attitude’
Valjean smiled slightly at that ‘Enjolras, you have many great qualities, your determination, your passion, your dedication to the cause are to be admired-‘
‘Your temper is what I don’t like. If you learn to control it you will be better for it, you could rise through the ranks, be an archangel one day.’
‘I don’t want to sit behind a desk for the rest of eternity, I want to be down there, part of the world, helping people, changing minds.’
‘Which is why I want you for this assignment’
‘What if I don’t want it?’
‘Would you want someone else to take it over?’ Valjean asked pointedly.
Enjolras glowered in return.
‘You can’t have it both ways Enjolras, either you go down there and help him, or you let someone else do it.’
‘I…I…’ Enjolras stuttered, struggling for words.
‘I can’t do it’ he said thickly, looking down at the ornate red rug covering the floor of Valjean’s office.
‘Of course you can. You done it plenty of times before.’
‘Not like this, not with…not when it’s him.’
‘Enjolras, you can help him.’
‘I can’t!’ yelled Enjolras, close to tears now.
‘You can and you will, or else he’ll be lost. Lost. You know we can’t have that happen. You couldn’t let that happen, no matter how you feel about him.’
‘I…just…I don’t think I can do it.’
‘You are strong enough to bear this. Pull him through it Enjolras, he needs your help.’
Enjolras’s will crumbled and he nodded.
‘Good, gather your things, you leave in two hours.’
Two hours was not enough time for Enjolras to prepare to go to Earth.
Two hours was plenty time to prepare to go to Earth, but not enough time to prepare to see him again.
Enjolras had not lain eyes on Grantaire since the moment he had died, some 500 years ago now. His memories had clouded over the years, he couldn’t see Grantaire’s face clearly, couldn’t hear his voice, but he could never forget his touch. His hand in his as they had ended their lives together.
Enjolras had had enough time to think in the half century since his death. Enough time to realise what the depth of feelings he felt towards the young man who had died alongside him meant.
Enjolras had mourned him. Long nights, where he wept and tore at his hair only the moon and stars for company. Endless, sleepless torture as he realised he would never see him again. How he had realised, all too late that he loved him. The brilliant, antagonistic, young man whose mockery had riled him up so, had gotten under his skin only to settle deep within his heart.
And Enjolras had led him to his death.
The guilt haunted him. Fractured his heart. Stained his soul. How do you carry on from that? The other angels couldn’t seem to see how broken he was, how desperate he was to put things right. He threw himself into his work, helping humans make the right choices, spreading hope, encouraging love, desperately wanting to undo the vast wrongs he’d committed, but it never felt enough.
Now he had a chance to change that.
Enjolras wasn’t sure he could do it. What if he let Grantaire down again?
He couldn’t let that happen. At all costs Grantaire must be saved, even if the price was eternal suffering at the hands of the darkness. He would gladly do it. He must do it.
Enjolras walked down the corridor to the immigration office. His things were packed neatly in rucksack which he had slung over one shoulder and he’d changed into the appropriate period clothes for the early twenty-first century as well.
He submitted his papers to the immigration officer- the angel responsible for all celestial visits to Earth- everything had to be done by the books; any unsigned visits to Earth were prohibited. Once they were all stamped and approved Enjolras was ready to head out.
He rounded the corner on his way to exit the building when a thin but strong arm reached out and pulled him into an alcove.
‘What the-‘ but a cool hand was pressed against his mouth silencing him.
It was Jehan.
When Enjolras had lived, he’d led a group of revolutionary students to their deaths. Jehan had been one of them, going by the name Jean Prouvaire, or so Enjolras thought. It turned out that Jehan had been an angel amongst the young men, blending in the entire time. Jehan hadn’t died at the hands of the French soldiers, he’d simply returned to heaven. He’d been one of the first to greet Enjolras when he was reborn as a heavenly being. He’d explained everything to him. And Enjolras had never forgiven him.
Jehan had been his friend, his comrade; he’d mourned him as a human. And then, to find out that he’d been an angel the entire time; it was a shock.
But even worse was that Jehan had known what was going to happen, because Jehan could see the future.
Heaven was separate from Earth time, in that they could travel to the very dawn of the human race and to the very end as well. They could see history play out in front of them. However, they could not see how the battles between light and darkness were going to play out. History was, in actual fact always changing because of this. Light and darkness travelling and clashing throughout all of history and Jehan was one of the few angels who could see how some of the conflicts were going to end. It wasn’t fool proof, there were blind spots, but he’d known what was going to happen to Enjolras and his comrades on that summer day in 1832.
Enjolras took full responsibility for what had happened in the failed revolution but still, the fact that Jehan had known what the outcome was and had let them continue regardless. How could he have let them go to their deaths?
In addition to this, Jehan showed very little remorse which only served to rile Enjolras up further. Jehan’s answer, when confronted by Enjolras on this topic, was to sigh and say that’s how it was meant to be.
Enjolras didn’t much like that answer. If he had to die, then fine he could accept that. But not the others, not Grantaire…
Back in the moment, Jehan slowly removed his hand from Enjolras’s face. His eyes were wide and blue as he looked up, scanning Enjolras’s face.
‘What do you want?’ Enjolras hissed, his wings flaring a little in annoyance.
‘I know where you’re going,’ the prophet replied, ‘I know who you’re charge is.’
Jehan inhaled and his wings bristled too; clearly irritated with Enjolras’s attitude. Enjolras didn’t care.
‘I know how much this means to you, how much he means to you’
‘Jehan, seriously, if you’re just going to tell me things I already know then-‘ Enjolras made to brush past the other angel but Jehan’s right wing stretched out to stop him. ‘Enjolras’ he growled, ‘I’m trying to warn you’
‘I can’t see the outcome’
‘No, it’s hazy and it’s dark. He’s in deep Enjolras…you…’ Jehan paused, ‘You need to be prepared in case you can’t do it, in case you can’t save him-‘
‘Shut up!’ Enjolras cut across the other angel aggressively, ‘That’s not going to happen, and just because you can’t see it…it doesn’t mean anything’
‘Enjolras, I’m just saying, the darkness has hold of him very strong, I can’t see anything, even you might not be enough to save him-‘
‘That’s not going to happen. It won’t happen, I won’t let it happen!’
‘Enjolras, be reasonable, you have to admit there might be a chance’
‘No. I won’t let it happen! I will save him…or die trying.’ Enjolras stated with full conviction.
‘Enjolras’ Jehan breath hitched, ‘You can’t do that… you are worth more than-‘
‘Than what? A human? To heaven maybe, but this is Grantaire, he’s worth everything to me Jehan, everything’ Enjolras’s voice was cracking again, his throat getting thick.
‘Oh Enjolras’ Jehan’s voice was also laden with emotion, and there were tears welling in his eyes.
‘I’ve got to get going, see you around Jehan’ Enjolras said brusquely and he moved off, striding down the corridor and desperately trying to get a lid on his emotions.
New story time!
Have got the whole fic planned so hopefully updates will be fairly regular,
thanks for reading and you can find me on tumblr here
Chapter 3: With your head pressed against the stone, you look so alone
Issac can you see my now
I've known you all my life
And I worship the ground you walk upon
Isaac I have never seen you look so afraid
With your head pressed so hard against the stone
You look so alone
I'm going to give all my love to you
I'm going to give all my love to you
Isaac are you listening
I watched it from afar
As your life fell apart
I'm going to give all my love to you
(Isaac, Bear’s Den)
Being back on Earth never ceased to feel novel to Enjolras. It didn’t matter how many times he’d visited, how many times he’d taken on the appearance of a human, he still got that thrill of being in the thick of it. Earth was vibrant, messy, exciting. Heaven was ordered, precise and boring. Enjolras would take Earth over heaven any day.
He’d landed in Waterloo station in London in the early twenty-first century. It was rush hour so no one noticed him suddenly appearing from out of nowhere. He wore dark jeans that hugged his legs, brown boots which laced up and a light blue shirt over which he wore a slightly large red jumper.
His wings were still there, he just glamoured them so that ordinary humans couldn’t see them. The only ones who could see them were human babies, but they weren’t going to say anything. Sometimes gifted humans could see angel wings but they were few and far between; Enjolras wasn’t worried about being found out.
He headed out of the station and out into the vast city of London to try and track down his charge.
Based on the information Michael had given him, Grantaire should be around 17 or so. It didn’t take too long for Enjolras to find the inner city sixth form college Grantaire was a student at. He lingered on the pavement outside the college building, it was run down, overcrowded and most of the pupils were from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Enjolras tried to not get wound up over the state of the college, he was here for a purpose.
It was the beginning of the school day and the students were streaming into the gated courtyard in front of the college. Enjolras had already worked out a loose plan; he needed to get close to Grantaire, needed to get Grantaire to trust him so posing as a fellow pupil was the logical idea. He was aware he had been a couple of years older than 17 when he’d been killed but hopefully with his angel glamour he’d be able to get away with pretending to be younger. In fact, with his outfit and his rucksack he looked like a typical student anyway. He stood to one side to let a group of girls pass by on their way to morning lessons and as he did so he caught his first glimpse of him.
Enjolras could only stop and stare as his heart threatened to burst from his chest upon seeing Grantaire for the first time in nearly a century. There was no doubt it was him.
He was younger, Enjolras noticed that straight away, younger than Enjolras had ever known him. And with that youth, he looked so vulnerable. He also looked incredibly rough, there were dark circles under his eyes, patchy stubble on his cheeks, his hair tucked under a beanie hat but unwashed curls sprung loose in some places. Grantaire was trudging towards the gates a sketchbook under one arm and a messenger bag on the opposite shoulder. There was a cigarette in his fingers and he took a drag before stubbing it out with a toe before he entered the college grounds.
But what had hit Enjolras hardest was the fact that he could see the dark miasma that hung around the teenager. It dripped disgust and self-loathing, shrouding Grantaire in a negativity that was almost overwhelming. Enjolras had never seen or felt such darkness cloaking a human before. How was Grantaire still functioning?
Most humans were surrounded by a mix of vibes, some positive, some negative; that was fairly standard. When Enjolras usually had to help humans it was because these vibes had got out of balance, negativity getting too strong, it was usually simply a case of boosting the positive waves until the human became strong enough to generate their own positivity.
Enjolras had never seen a case where a human had become so enveloped by negativity that there was no shred of positivity even left.
His joy at seeing Grantaire again was short lived. It broke his heart to see Grantaire this way, to see how deeply he’d been infected by the darkness. It was going to be difficult to reverse the effects but Enjolras knew he had to do it. Failure was not an option. He had to save Grantaire from the darkness.
Enjolras moved after Grantaire, he entered the college grounds and strode into the reception area of the college and managed to subtly glamour the secretary to admit him as a student with as many of the same classes as Grantaire as possible.
‘Your first class is history’ said the secretary sweetly, handing Enjolras a pen and notepad, ‘Down the corridor and first on your left.’
Enjolras headed towards the classroom and only had to knock once before it was opened by a red-faced teacher.
‘Sorry, I’m new’ Enjolras explained, his glamoured vibes surrounded the teacher, pressing him to accept Enjolras into the classroom.
‘Come in, come in’
Enjolras moved into the room, eyes immediately searching for Grantaire. He was sitting towards the back of the classroom and, by some miracle, the seat next to him was free.
Enjolras walked up to the desk and asked ‘Is this seat free?’
‘What?’ said Grantaire looking up at Enjolras and when their eyes met Enjolras’s stomach lurched, ‘Oh yeah, feel free’ said Grantaire looking away quickly.
Enjolras dropped his rucksack to the floor and sat down in the seat next to the teenager. His wings shuffled uncomfortable behind him, the plastic back chairs were not the most comfortable even if you didn’t have large invisible wings on your back.
Enjolras turned to Grantaire, ‘I’m Enjolras by the way’
‘Grantaire’ the teenager replied, and that voice. Enjolras closed his eyes briefly when he heard it. Calm, he told himself, it’s okay, it’s him, he’s here, he’s alive.
That seemed to be all Grantaire was willing to say for the moment soEnjolras got out his notepad and pens and tried to look like an attentive student, all the while analysing the negativity surrounding Grantaire.
It was dark and thick and gloopy and when Enjolras tentatively pushed some positive vibes towards Grantaire, the teenager shifted uncomfortably in his seat and the murk around Grantaire aggressively deflected the vibes straight back at the angel. Enjolras was reeling in shock, not only had his vibes been returned to him but they’d been permanently damaged. They were now tainted with darkness and the sensation caused Enjolras to shiver unpleasantly.
Enjolras had never, in all of his experience of working with troubled humans come across a dark miasma as aggressive and strong as this. How on earth was he going to be able to help Grantaire if even small, basic positive vibes couldn’t get through?
But then, to his surprise, Grantaire leaned back in his chair and asked ‘How come you’re new, in the middle of the term?’
‘My parent’s move around a lot, my dad’s got a new job’ lied Enjolras.
‘You like history?’
‘Yeah, love it’ said Enjolras breathlessly, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.
Grantaire merely stared back for a moment, his eyes catching Enjolras and then a tentative smile revealed itself on his face.
Enjolras could have cried. It gave him hope.
There wasn’t much time for conversation for the rest of the class; the teacher spent most of it talking to them about the Corn Laws. Grantaire spent the rest of the class, doodling in his book and Enjolras took notes absentmindedly, whilst in his head he was trying to work out how he could start to reduce the negativity surrounding the young man who sat next to him.
The class ended and Enjolras packed his stuff up.
‘I’ve got art after this’ he said, ‘Do you know where the room is?’
‘Oh? You do art?’ asked Grantaire, surprised.
‘Oh, well I’m in that class too’ Grantaire said. Enjolras knew this, but he had to play the part of new student, ‘I’ll take you there’ Grantaire finished.
The set off for the art classroom, Grantaire pushing past the students easily, in fact, Enjolras saw, it was almost as if the other student’s made way for the darkness surrounding him. The angel wasn’t surprised, that level of darkness was enough to make any human feel queasy, how was Grantaire coping?
Once they reached the classroom, Grantaire moved away from Enjolras towards his workstation. They were a little early and there were only one or two other students present. Grantaire set his sketchbook down on a table and started getting out his paints and brushes, head down.
Enjolras moved over to have a closer look at a pile of paintings next to Grantaire’s easel. He gently pulled them out so he could see them clearer, handling them like they were made of gold. The Grantaire he knew back in 1832 drew sporadically and Enjolras hadn’t taken the slightest interest in his skills. He wanted to change that this time.
The paintings were mostly abstract, but they was a clear theme throughout. Dark, vicious lines covered the paper and canvases. Indigos and purples swirled with in patterns intermingled with blood red. They were difficult to look at, they invoked desperate, raw emotion that any human could recognise.
For Enjolras, these canvases were almost a mirror replicate of the dark fog surrounding the artist who’d painted them. Grantaire, unlike Enjolras, was unable to see the darkness around him.
‘What are you doing?’ came a rough voice.
Enjolras looked up, Grantaire was staring at him in shock.
‘You, you can’t just go through those…they’re mine!’
‘I was just interested’ said Enjolras quickly putting the paintings back into an orderly pile but in his haste he accidentally knocked some onto the floor.
‘Fucking hell, what are you doing!’ cried Grantaire, diving to the floor to gather the paintings up.
‘I’m sorry’ said Enjolras, backing off a little as the miasma around Grantaire grew and pulsed with dangerous energy. ‘You’re very good, I mean, the paintings, they’re good’ Enjolras said awkwardly, clearing his throat.
Grantaire snorted in disbelief, ‘Who are you?’ he asked suspiciously.
‘I’m new’ answered Enjolras, he felt on the spot as he shifted from foot to foot.
‘Liar’ accused Grantaire hollowly, eyes staring.
‘What?’ asked Enjolras, shocked.
‘My paintings’ Grantaire shook his head, ‘I painted them, I know they’re shit, you don’t need to make me feel better. If you say they’re good I can’t believe a word you say.’
‘Grantaire’ protested Enjolras.
‘Don’t bother. Just leave me alone.’
‘Seriously, just leave it’
‘FUCK OFF!’ Grantaire yelled at Enjolras, causing the entire classroom, now mostly full with students, to turn around to see what was happening.
‘Alright gentlemen, that’s enough’ said the art teacher, coming across to see what was the matter.
‘It’s fine, I’m leaving’ said Grantaire.
‘What? No you can’t’ said Enjolras.
‘Grantaire, you can’t leave, your attendance is atrocious anyway’ pointed out the art teacher.
‘Then what’s one more day?’ Grantaire asked, packing his bag and slinging it over one shoulder as he marched from the art room.
‘Grantaire! Come back here!’ shouted the art teacher.
Enjolras made to go after him, but the teacher stopped him, ‘Young man, it is your first day, and you are not making a good impression. I suggest you sit down’.
Thus, Enjolras was forced with a choice: to sit through an AS art class where he had no desire to be nor the talent to make it worthwhile. Or, go after Grantaire.
Snatching up Grantaire’s sketchbook which he’d left behind, Enjolras swept past the teacher and the rest of the open mouthed class and followed his charge.
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Welcome to the inner workings of my mind
So dark and foul I can't disguise
Nights like this
I become afraid
Of the darkness in my heart
When you feel my heat, look into my eyes
It's where my demons hide, it's where my demons hide
Don't get too close, it's dark inside
It's where my demons hide, it's where my demons hide
(Demons, Imagine Dragons)
Why had he even bothered going into college today? What was even the point?
He’d thought he’d been about to have just a plain shitty day as compared to a really shitty day.
But no, today was turning out to be an absolute winner of a shitty day, it might even make the all-time top 5 shitty days of his miserable existence here on earth.
Your whole life is shit, why do you even distinguish between days anymore?
You actually thought today was going to be different didn’t you?
He’d woken up on time for once and had trudged into college. No one even cared he’d bothered to turn up, the other students all shunned him. It was like they couldn’t even stand to be around him. It wasn’t even like they were just ignoring him, that he could handle, no, instead they actually moved away from him, avoided him; it was even worse.
They all hate you
They can’t stand you
They’re looking at you, they’re staring, look at her over there, she’s thinking how disgusting you are.
It was just another thing on top of all the shitty things about Grantaire’s life.
You’re whole life is shit, that’s what you are, a piece of shit
Now, after the fiasco of the art lesson, Grantaire stormed out of the sixth form main building and didn’t stop till he reached the gates, once outside he scrabbled in his pockets for a cigarette which, after a couple of tries managed to light and take a long drag.
Why did he even bother?
Why do you even bother?
‘Grantaire! Wait Grantaire!’
Jesus Christ. It’s him. Why is he here?
Grantaire slumped against the wall by the railings in defeat. The universe was out to get him. Not content with making his life the shittiest it could be, it went dangling possibly the most attractive guy he’d ever seen in front of him, and then proceeded to taunt him with it.
When Grantaire had first seen the blond guy…Enjolras? Walk into the classroom his first thought had been…why the fuck is someone starting in the middle of the term?
But then he’d walked over.
It wasn’t just that he was fucking gorgeous. Tall, and toned, a slight tan on his perfect skin. His hair was blond curls which were in the perfect tousled style. His whole appearance was just perfect. Did he mention how perfectly attractive this guy was? There was no way it was legal to be that attractive.
But on top of the guy looking like he’d just come from a modelling shoot- there was no way he could actually attend this school, he looked far too posh for this area of London.
There was something…glowy… about him.
Like there was light burning just under his skin; he actually glowed.
Grantaire was pretty sure he’d hallucinated the whole thing. That maybe his last cigarette hadn’t actually been tobacco but something altogether stronger and capable of creating such glorious hallucinations.
But then, Grantaire had thought bitterly. There’s no way his imagination would create something that unspoiled, that pure, as this guy. No, he had to be real, because Grantaire was way too fucked up to imagine something like this.
He’d walked into the classroom, this glowy angel of a guy and then he’d actually holyfuckinghell sat down next to him.
Grantaire was having trouble breathing.
Even his voice was angelic.
Even his name was angelic. Enjolras.
Golden guy had shifted in his seat a little uncomfortably.
Probably doesn’t really want to sit next you, you piece of shit
Grantaire had just put his head down and started scribbling in his notepad.
And then, then he felt the weirdest thing….
It felt like something was scratching him. But not his skin, like him. Like something was clawing at him trying to get in.
Stop it. Stop it. What’s happening?
Grantaire squirmed in his seat as he felt the scratching intensify to the point of extreme irritation and then suddenly it stopped.
And now Grantaire felt very weird, he felt sort of like smiling?
On impulse he leaned back in his chair and asked the guy, Enjolras? Why he was here in this part of London.
‘My parents move around a lot’ Enjolras had replied.
‘You like history?’ Grantaire has asked because it was so weird, why was this guy here in this class, sitting next to him?
At this, Enjolras had smiled and fuck it lit up the whole room. And then he’d said in a deep breathy voice that was not legal, ‘Yeah love it’
And it was so infectious Grantaire actually smiled back, using muscles he had used in a very long time. And…it…felt good. It was strange.
However, as the rest of lesson continued Grantaire began to fell less and less cheerful and when it got to the end he was startled by Enjolras talking to him.
Somehow it transpired that this perfect human being next to him had art next same as him. Grantaire offered to show him the way to the classroom and still managed to be surprised when Enjolras followed him there. Here was someone who seemingly didn’t mind spending time in his company.
Not for long. Not when he realises what a pathetic human being you are.
Once they’d got to the classroom Grantaire had begun to set up his things, getting out his pencils and brushes and working out what paints he was going to need. As he was doing this he’d looked up and seen Enjolras holding his most recent work. It was wrong. Someone so perfect and whole shouldn’t have been even looking at them, let alone touching them.
‘What are you doing?’ Grantaire had managed to get out, ‘You, you can’t just go through those…they’re mine!’
‘I was just interested’ Enjolras had replied.
He’s lying. Why would he be interested in anything you do? You’re pathetic.
In his haste to put Grantaire’s painting down Enjolras had accidentally knocked over the rest of the poorly stacked works.
‘Fucking hell, what are you doing?’ Grantaire had yelled, moving to pick them up.
That’s right, get down on the floor where you belong with your wretched paintings.
Enjolras was speaking, apologies falling from his lips and then, unbelievably, praise. The sensation was so alien to Grantaire, he shuddered a little.
Who is he? How dare he say these things! Your work is disgusting. He’s lying.
‘Who are you?’ Grantaire had asked with a snort, to which Enjolras replied ‘I’m new’
‘Liar’ replied Grantaire hollowly, there was no way this guy in front of him thought anything of Grantaire and his work.
Enjolras had just replied ‘What?’ in shock at Grantaire’s accusation.
Shaking his head Grantaire had explained that his work was awful.
Everyone knows that. This guy must really be stupid not to recognise awful when he sees it.
And then Enjolras had protested, ‘Grantaire’ and it had all gone to shit. Christ. Just the way he said his name, it was too much.
The art lesson was a write off and Grantaire had stormed out of the classroom and building, not before yelling ‘FUCK OFF!’ at the top of his lungs to Enjolras and everyone who dared to even act as if Grantaire wasn’t the pathetic person he was.
At the gates, Grantaire took another long drag of his cigarette, trying to calm down from reliving the last couple of moments.
‘Grantaire! Grantaire, wait!’
Enjolras ran up to the gates, not even a little out of breath, to catch up to where Grantaire was leaning against the wall.
‘What is it?’ he interrupted bitterly.
Enjolras seemed a little taken aback but pressed on. You had to hand it to him, thought Grantaire, not many people would come after someone who’d just very loudly told them to fuck off.
‘You forgot this’ said Enjolras, revealing the sketchbook Grantaire had left behind in the art classroom.
‘Oh’ said Grantaire a little confused.
What is he up to?
‘Why would you do that?’ he asked, puzzled.
‘Well, it’d be a shame if you lost it, or someone took it’ explained the blond.
‘You took it’ Grantaire stated, whilst reaching out to take hold of the sketchbook.
‘Yeah, well’ said Enjolras sheepishly.
‘Well…..thanks I guess’ said Grantaire, ‘Although I’m going to fail that course anyway so I don’t know why you bothered.’
‘Oh no!’ cried Enjolras, and Christ he looked so concerned and sincere, ‘But you’re work is really good, you’re very talented, always have been’
Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! You are awful, pathetic, disgusting, there’s not a shred of talent in you. You are only an imitation of aptitude, the most you could ever be is a shadow.
Grantaire shook his head.
‘You need to believe me’ protested Enjolras
‘Seriously, mate, just drop it.’
Get out. Leave. Now.
‘But’ Enjolras objected.
‘Seriously, just leave it. Thanks for the book, but….I’m leaving’ and with that Grantaire pushed off the wall and re-shouldering his bag and tucking his sketchbook under his arm walked down the street, not once looking back at Enjolras even though he was so fucking tempted.
So it's been a VERY long time since I updated this, apologies. As I mentioned in my other fic Quant and Qual, I've recently been very ill unfortunately.
However, I'm now doing much better and have more time for writing :)
Let me know what you think, comments and kudos are very much appreciated. Subscribe to be notified of when I next update or check out my tumblr
Chapter 5: Keep our disasters in a suitcase by the door
Cross your heart and say you've never given up
That you carried on when every door was shut
That you live, you live with no regret!
We wear a smile to hide that we’ve been hurt before
Keep our disasters in a suitcase by the door,
'Cause you know, you know we’re only human
(Broken Ones, Jacquie Lee)
Watching Grantaire walk away from him had been so difficult. Enjolras longed to follow after him, to grab his hand and pull him into an embrace, to hold him, to tell him he was wanted, loved.
The darkness surrounding Grantaire was so thick, like an oil spill. Enjolras hadn’t been able to penetrate it at all with his vibes.
Grantaire was in deep trouble and Enjolras needed to do something before the darkness consumed him with terrible consequences.
Enjolras waited a couple of hours before he headed to Grantaire’s house. He thought it was best to give both him and Grantaire a bit of space, for Grantaire to calm down and for him to pull himself together.
Nothing could have prepared Enjolras for seeing Grantaire after such a long time. It was like being winded, his breath stolen away. He needed to clear his head and reassess the situation.
Enjolras bumped his glamour up so he was invisible to all humans and took off into the sky. It felt good to stretch his wings and flying always served to clear his head.
He flew for several hours, trying to think of ways to help Grantaire. Enjolras tried to be reassured that the depth of darkness surrounding the teen hadn’t yet corrupted him, it showed that Grantaire had a very strong soul, but still, it was troubling. Grantaire was in a dark place and it was going to take a lot to break him free.
Enjolras’s vibes hadn’t been able to do much at all, but there had been some tiny signs, little things that he’d noticed had helped lessen the dark tension around Grantaire. Talking to him - at least in the beginning - accompanied by Light vibes seemed to help, Enjolras had noticed Grantaire’s demeanour brightening. However, things had got worse when Enjolras had tried to boost his self- esteem, it was clear that Grantaire thought very little of himself.
Enjolras sighed. If only Grantaire could see himself through Enjolras’s eyes.
Enjolras had never known the French revolution Grantaire so young, he’d met him when he’d been in his mid-twenties. The Grantaire then, even though he was prone to fits of melancholy, had been assured of himself; knew who he was, knew his faults, but also knew his strengths.
Not that Enjolras had ever praised his strengths…..too busy lecturing him, berating him, moaning about him. But in the end, Grantaire had shown who he truly was and Enjolras’s left hand jerked at the memory of that last, desperate grip on his. He pulled his hand into his chest, enclosing it with the other. He shook his head and dropped both hands to his side.
Enjolras needed to stop comparing the two Grantaires, they had the same soul but were different people.
Towards the evening Enjolras swooped in and settled on the rooftop of Grantaire’s house. It was a terraced house, narrow and a bit worse for wear. Enjolras soon located Grantaire in his room. He shuffled his wings so they were tucked behind him properly and settled down on the roof slates to wait out the night.
His plan was to keep up a constant stream of low level Light vibes, hopefully the consistency rather than the power would be more effective. He hoped to create a safe environment surrounding Grantaire, if he had a good night, then hopefully he would be more susceptible to Enjolras’s Light tomorrow.
Grantaire headed to bed around midnight and after a bit of tossing and turning, finally settled down into a deep sleep.
Enjolras was content to lean back on the roof tiles and let his Light pour out of him onto Grantaire. It all but guaranteed a dreamless sleep; the best for recuperation.
Grantaire didn’t even stir when his parents began rowing around 2am. Enjolras reached out with his vibes and encountered two additional beings in the house, both with negative energy surrounding them. Well no wonder Grantaire is so predisposed to this, thought Enjolras. If this dark energy had been around throughout the his childhood then it was going to have an effect. It didn’t explain fully why the darkness was so strong surrounding Grantaire, his parents both had relatively low levels of darkness surrounding them so they weren’t the ones causing the problem, but being exposed to low amounts, over the space of a lifetime were surely going to damage Grantaire in some way.
Enjolras wondered though, how come Grantaire was so infected with darkness, where had it come from? Most of it was generated by Grantaire himself, a self-perpetuating cycle, but the initial exposure to so much Darkness much have come from somewhere…..
He contemplated this as the night continued, constantly sheltering Grantaire from his parent’s negative influence.
The next day, now visible except for his wings, Enjolras waited at the gates of the sixth form college until Grantaire showed up. He had to wait a while and in the meantime he kept being approached by curious teenagers eager to engage him in conversation. Normally, Enjolras relished any opportunity to talk to the younger generations of whichever time period he was in, but not today. He was worried he would miss Grantaire’s arrival if he got talking- or more likely lecturing- to the young students about equality and human rights. It got to the point that he was almost encircled by a mob of youngsters and he had to ramp up his glamour to send out uncomfortable vibes to those in the close vicinity, a neat trick which did the job of dispersing the crowd of inquisitive students but ran a little too close to ‘Dark’ methods for his liking. He was an agent of Light after all.
Grantaire finally arrived just as the first bell rang and Enjolras struggled to catch him through the throng of moving students.
As soon as Enjolras laid eyes on Grantaire his heart lifted a little. The aura around the teenager was pulsating darkly, but Enjolras was sure the tendrils seemed more fragile around the edges than before. Still, there was a long way to go; usually there was only so much darkness a human could take before it became critical. Enjolras was going to have to step up his game and work even harder than he thought possible to save Grantaire from what was looking like a pretty bleak situation.
‘Grantaire!’ he called out, moving through the wave of students.
Grantaire’s dark head- this time his curls peeking out under a black beanie- looked up in surprise. He seemed to not quite believe that Enjolras was now standing in front of him.
‘Um….hi’ he said in a very raspy voice.
‘Hi’ said Enjolras brightly, ‘How are you?’
‘Um….okayyyy?’ replied Grantaire, now he seemed really confused.
‘What’s up?’ asked Enjolras, concerned that something was wrong. Well, something was very wrong, the black vibes emanating from Grantaire were trying to extend themselves towards Enjolras, trying to contaminate his Light. Enjolras boosted his vibes from ‘shining’ to ‘blistering’ to counter this.
Grantaire actually winced in front of him. Enjolras’s light was clearly making him uncomfortable even though he had no idea of the source.
‘Okay’ Grantaire cleared his throat and started again, ‘Okay so you actually exist,……okay’
‘Sorry?’ Now Enjolras was the one who was confused.
‘Oh, well you know,’ said Grantaire with a shrug, moving past Enjolras and heading towards the main building for classes ‘I thought, after yesterday I must have seriously made you up, because there’s no way you can exist. And that would explain why I was so rude to you because I would never….’
‘Never what?’ pressed Enjolras, following after Grantaire.
‘Never you mind’ said Grantaire with a grin. His mood seemed to have lightened and for a second, Enjolras caught a glimpse of the Grantaire he knew. The one from the French revolution, the one who grinned like that at Enjolras all the time when he was winning an argument against the blonde. The Grantaire he loved.
Enjolras’s breath caught in his throat and he swallowed thickly. It was only a slight improvement, but he’d take everything he could get at this stage.
Unfortunately Grantaire’s mood worsened as the day progressed. Enjolras wasn’t in every class with him, it would have look too weird if he’d matched his timetable exactly. Instead he had to put up with twenty first century Computer Science and General Studies. Both of which were a complete waste of time, General studies because it taught absolutely nothing and Computer Science because most of the kids knew more than the teacher anyway.
By the time Enjolras was able to find Grantaire again, it looked like any cheerfulness from the morning had been replaced by bitterness. Grantaire was sitting on a grassy bank on the other side of the main building. He had a cigarette in one hand and was busy sketching in his book with the other.
‘Hey’ said Enjolras quietly, not wanting to make him jump.
‘Mmmmph’ replied Grantaire by way of greeting. He took a drag on the cigarette.
Enjolras sat down beside Grantaire, he decided he needed to let Grantaire talk in his own time and not force the issue. They both had a free period now so there was plenty of time.
After a few minutes Grantaire spoke: ‘Why do you keep hanging out with me?’
‘Oh I don’t know’ Enjolras replied amicably, ‘Perhaps because you’re the only person I know?’
‘Bullshit’ said Grantaire, ‘You could be friends with anyone you wanted, why are you hanging out with a loser like me? Especially after I told you to fuck off yesterday.’
‘Firstly’ said Enjolras lying down on the grass slope-minding his wings- and closing his eyes against the sun, ‘I don’t want to be friends with anyone, I want to get to know you-‘
Grantaire made to interrupt but Enjolras shushed him without even opening his eyes, ‘Secondly, you are not a loser, and thirdly, you were upset yesterday and therefore I forgive you for what was said.’
‘Hmmmm, none of that makes sense but whatever, I don’t have the energy to argue with you.’
‘You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself’ said Enjolras, sitting up so he was leaning on his elbows.
‘Jesus Christ’ swore Grantaire, plucking the cigarette from his mouth in irritation, ‘Seriously mate, I wish you would just leave me alone, it’s so much easier than arguing with you’
‘What are we arguing about?’ protested Enjolras.
‘You seem to think I’m worth something for some stupid fucked up reason!’ Grantaire almost yelled.
‘Because you’re a person’ said Enjolras matter-of-factly, that I care a lot about he thought. But instead said: ‘therefore you are worth something and from what I see and learn about you, you are a decent, talented guy.’
‘Enjolras, nobody gives two shits about me, why do you even bother?’
‘Stop pushing me away and accept that I think you are worth something.’
Grantaire was getting really worked up now, Enjolras could see the aura around him pulsate and ripple with his emotions.
‘Would you just shut up!’ yelled Grantaire.
Enjolras closed his mouth.
After a pause, Grantaire let out a low laugh, ‘Huh, well I guess you do listen sometimes’
‘I listen all the time’
‘Yeah right’ retorted Grantaire, but this time his tone was a little lighter. Enjolras sensed there was an opportunity for some Light vibes and so projected some of his stronger, more precise vibes Grantaire’s way, hoping they would be able to break through somehow.
‘Can I ask what you’re drawing, or will you bite my head off like yesterday?’ asked Enjolras with a slight grin.
‘Fuck off’ said Grantaire, but it was said playfully. Enjolras rallied, perhaps his vibes were having an effect, he continued to project them, trying to break through the small gaps between the fragile ends of the Darkness.
‘Come on,’ said Enjolras, ‘I’m interested, I can’t draw at all’
‘Then why do you take Art?’
‘Um…cos I thought it would be easy?’
‘Shit mate, you’re in trouble there’ Grantaire huffed a low laugh which sounded like music to Enjolras’s ears. He kept up the vibe offensive whilst Grantaire stubbed out his cigarette and reached for another one.
Enjolras plucked it from the teenager’s hands.
‘Oi!’ protested Grantaire.
Enjolras squished the cigarette into the ground, twisting it till it was unusable.
‘It’s a disgusting, expensive addiction’ explained Enjolras.
‘But it’s also my choice dickhead’ growled Grantaire, ‘Now what am I going to do?’
‘Draw me something’ said Enjolras, laying back down on the bank.
‘You are unbelievable’
‘And also very real’ added Enjolras, ‘What did you mean this morning when you said you’d thought you’d made me up?’
‘Oh….um well…nevermind, it doesn’t matter’ muttered Grantaire.
‘Well….ummm….Jesus I wish you hadn’t destroyed my last fag……ummm, well, I though yesterday I must have made you up or something because there’s no way someone like you would want to hang around me and shit I was so out of line yesterday, sorry about that. I’m just, very protective of my work that’s all.’ Grantaire said all this very fast and Enjolras was shocked. Grantaire’s self-esteem was so low he’d rather believe in hallucinations rather than real life?
‘That’s okay’ he said quietly, ‘And I really do want to hang out with you Grantaire, I think you’re pretty great even’ he held his hand up to stop Grantaire interrupting again ‘-even if you don’t think so, and I probably should have been more careful with your artwork so I apologise.’
‘I….Ummm, okay,’ said Grantaire and he just ducked his head and began to furiously sketch in his book.
Enjolras was just content to lie back on the bank, his eyes closed against the sun his ears filled with the strangely relaxing sound of pencil on paper.
He could feel the darkness around Grantaire abating little by little, increment by increment. He knew it wasn’t going to be a quick process and in a way, he was relishing the time that he got to spend with Grantaire. This uncertain, unsure, nervous Grantaire was so different from the Grantaire he remembered and Enjolras was struggling a little to find a good footing in the beginning of this acquaintance? Friendship? Nevertheless, it was still, in essence, in soul, Grantaire and Enjolras’ heart filled with every second spent in the young man’s presence.
If only he knew what he meant to me.
Enjolras opened his eyes and managed to sneak a long look at Grantaire.
Hmmmm, I don’t know whether that was a good idea.
He hadn’t really looked at Grantaire. Like sure, he’d looked, glanced, but not actually looked looked.
Grantaire was an alright looking guy, probably nothing special for other people but there was just something about him that attracted Enjolras.
Is it okay for me to be attracted to my charge? I’m over a hundred years old now and he’s what...seventeen? Oh dear.
It was strange because he’d realised his love for Grantaire retrospectively. It was probably skewing his feelings right now. When you moulder over a feeling for the length of time Enjolras had, with seemingly no hope, well, it only served to make said feeling more intense.
But, being able to look at Grantaire again, despite him being younger, it was a cup of water to a man dying of thirst.
Not that Enjolras knew what to do with his feelings. As mentioned earlier, he’d always dismissed love and relationships; he had zero experience when it came to loving someone or being loved in return.
Therefore he was just content to sneak looks every now and then, to enjoy Grantaire’s physical appearance.
Focus Enjolras. You are here on a mission. Once it’s over you leave. Grantaire has a second chance to live his life, he doesn’t need you to lead him to an early grave. The only way you can prove your love for him is to eradicate the darkness and then let him live the life he deserves.
Enjolras squeezed his eyes shut and tried to shake foolish thoughts of a growing relationship between him and Grantaire out of his head.
He would be content with securing Grantaire’s happy future, he at least owed him that.
This is probably not my best chapter, it's late at night and I wanted to get this up before I went on holiday. I will be away for 3 weeks and when I get back I should have lots of time for writing as two out of my three remaining deadlines for university have now been completed.
Hope you are all having a lovely Summer!
Please feel free to subscribe to be notified of new chapters and let me know what you think in the comments,
Everything within you caught my eye
I could barely breathe as you passed by
All I couldn't say was in my mind
So I turned ‘round
Everything within me lost in time
I could feel my hands but they weren't mine
Floating over words I could not find
I made no sound, made no sound
(Beating Hearts Ablaze, The Woodlands)
Most certainly I'm where I'm supposed to be
In a molten sun, with you I am free
(We’re all we need, Above and Beyond)
Go, go, go
You should try happiness
(Try Happiness, Daniel Gidlund)
Today had been a very strange day.
For the first time in…well…since Grantaire could remember, he’d slept through the night without bad dreams. He hadn’t even woken up from his parents arguing-he could tell they’d fought because the door to their bedroom was now hanging off one of its hinges.
Grantaire had woken up peacefully, stretching and then suddenly sitting up, because what had just happened? He never slept like that, ever. He had been actually hungry for breakfast as well this time, instead of just having a smoke like he normally did, he actually had some toast- although there wasn’t anything to go on it, the cupboards were empty again.
And to top it all off was the fact that he had been at college this morning seemingly waiting for Grantaire. Erm, what?
For some reason he wanted to talk to Grantaire, to hang around with him. Grantaire had pointed out that there were lots of other people he could hang out with. Lots of people who would love to hang out with Mr. Goodlookingasfuck. And Enjolras would probably love to hang out with them too.
So why was he trailing Grantaire around?
He can’t actually want to spend time with you. You’re a pathetic waste of space.
But he’s said he actually wanted to get to know Grantaire…
Why would he want to get to know you? You aren’t worth knowing.
Maybe Grantaire wasn’t the crazy one. Enjolras actually seemed to think he was worth something.
You aren’t worth any-
But then again, Enjolras didn’t seem the naïve type, he was a determined guy and not likely to give up once he’d decided something.
He’ll give up on you-
But maybe he wouldn’t. That afternoon, they had actually hung out together. For the first time in a long, long time Grantaire had talked with someone his own age, someone who didn’t seem desperate to leave his company, someone who…..had seemed to care….
Careful now, that’s a dangerous thought.
That wasn’t to say Enjolras was perfect company. No, he’d already criticized Grantaire on his smoking- arsehole- and he seemed far too interested in Grantaire’s sketches –suspicious- but talking to him was surprisingly easy, Grantaire had to admit.
He’d thought he’d blown everything by yelling at Enjolras on the first day they met. But Enjolras had brushed it aside like it meant nothing. He’d still wanted to spend time with him. That must mean something, mustn’t it?
That afternoon had been one of the best in Grantaire’s recent memory. For once, he’d felt the tightness around his heart loosen for a while. Combined with the good night’s sleep he’d had, the time spent with Enjolras had been… happy?
You don’t deserve happiness, you never will….
Enjolras had called him out on his comment earlier though, Grantaire had half believed that Enjolras had been a figment of his imagination, because it was just so bizarre that someone like him would turn up at this school, sit next to Grantaire and actually want to talk to him. Enjolras was just…..
He really didn’t fit in. Not in the way Grantaire didn’t fit in, Grantaire had been rejected by his peers, Enjolras was the complete opposite, other students were clamouring to know him, to talk to him. Enjolras was a model student, he didn’t fit in because he was too good for this school, for these people, for Grantaire.
Far, far too good for you…
All Grantaire could do was sit there, hands shaking and try to draw something for Enjolras, who was lying just there beside him. To say he was a distraction was an understatement. As he lay there on the grassy slope, the edge of his t-shirt had ridden up above his jeans and Grantaire could see the line of fair hair trailing from his navel, down under the waistband of his jeans.
Grantaire had to use all of his self-control to not keep staring.
Hell would have to freeze over before he’d be interested in you, pathetic, ugly, weak…..
Grantaire physically shook his head a little to dispel his thoughts. He needed to focus on the moment and in this moment he was busy trying to sketch a bird in flight, it’s wings spread out almost joyously behind it as it revelled in the freedom the flying brought. Grantaire often wished he could fly away from his life. Leave it all behind, become someone, something else. He could really do without living his life sometimes.
Although…..with Enjolras it really wasn’t that bad at the moment.
And how long do you think that will-
Grantaire stood up. ‘C’mon, free period is ending soon, we’d best head off’. The two of them headed back towards the College building for their last lesson, History, together. Enjolras flashed Grantaire a quick smile as they sat down at their desk. Grantaire felt something lift within him and he responded by smiling back.
That lesson was one of the best Grantaire had ever had. Enjolras kept interrupting the teacher to point out corrections to the historical details. It would have been pretty amazing even if he didn’t keep glancing at Grantaire every time he was just about to make a comment. At first they had been nervous looks, as if he was seeking permission to interrupt, but soon they evolved in little smirks, accompanied by a roll of the eyes at whatever the teacher was saying, before Enjolras launched into an ‘Um Sir, I think you may be mistaken...’ Or ‘Sorry, Sir, but I think you may be making inaccuracies when you refer to…’ or ‘Sir, I really don’t mean to cause offense’ when the teacher was grinding his teeth in such a way as to make it clear that he really did think Enjolras was causing offense.
Grantaire got to a point where he couldn’t help it anymore, he tried to keep it in he really did, but Enjolras was just too fantastic and his insistent energy rubbed off on Grantaire who just kept sniggering at the teacher and almost snorted really loudly at one remark Enjolras made when the blond elbowed him, cutting him off mid-exhale.
‘Seriously, I’m trying to make important points here’ said Enjolras sarcastically.
‘Sorry’ snorted Grantaire who wasn’t in the least bit sorry.
Enjolras gave a laughing smile back and Grantaire’s insides went mushy. He could feel warmth spreading throughout his body; starting in his centre and spreading outwards, all the way to his fingertips. It felt as if he’d stepped into a warm shower or was hugging a hot water bottle. He felt like a slow fire was burning within him, nothing compared to Enjolras’s fire of course but still, a welcome imitation. It filled him up, but instead of making him feel heavy, he felt lighter, like the bird he’d been drawing earlier, perhaps ready to spread his wings and fly.
As the lesson drew to a close and the rest of the class was packing up. Grantaire turned to Enjolras, ‘You are fucking unbelievable’ he said in awe.
‘What?’ asked Enjolras, his face turning into one of shock.
‘That was amazing! How do you know all of that? The way you just slayed Mr Peters…I…wow’
‘I um, I don’t know, I was just getting annoyed at the supposed ‘facts’’ He accompanied this with finger quotation marks, ‘being wrong. And if someone is wrong then I will tell them. No point beating around the bush.’
‘Well that was amazing’ stated Grantaire, packing his paper and pens back into his bag and standing up.
‘Well, I once had a friend who used to challenge what people said a lot.’ Said Enjolras not quite looking at Grantaire as he too packed up his belongings and swung his rucksack over one shoulder, ‘You learn a lot that way because you’re forced to make your arguments better.’
‘Did they challenge you?’ asked Grantaire
Enjolras paused and looked off into space for a long moment before saying with a sad smile ‘Oh yes, all the time.’
‘Bet that must have been annoying’
‘Um, yes it was, and I hated it at the time’ said Enjolras, ‘But you know, looking back, he really brought out the best in me and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him’
Enjolras looked so sincere when saying this, Grantaire could tell his friend had meant a great deal to him and he was instantly jealous. This mysterious friend from Enjolras’s past - who he was clearly quite fond of if Enjolras’s tone and expression were anything to go by- now became the object of Grantaire’s envy. This guy had probably spent loads of time with Enjolras, he must have, for Enjolras to be talking about him in this way.
Grantaire knew nothing about Enjolras apart from the fact that his parents moved around a lot. This guy had probably been at his last school, they’d probably been best friends. What if they had been more than best friends? Now Grantaire’s mind really was running away from him. He had no indication of whether or not Enjolras was interested in guys or not. And even if he was he wouldn’t ever think of Grantaire in that way.
Grantaire frowned. He could feel his unusual good mood falling away; like running water that can’t be held in your hand.
He knew absolutely nothing about Enjolras. Nothing. They weren’t friends. Friends share things. Enjolras was constantly asking Grantaire questions, volunteering very little information in exchange. He might be wanting to get to know Grantaire but he certainly didn’t offer up anything for Grantaire to know about him.
What was he thinking?
There was no way Enjolras was ever going to be his friend.
Why would you even think that in the first place. Why would anyone want to be friends with you?
‘But anyway, that was a long time ago, what are you up to now?.... Grantaire? Hello?’
Grantaire was snapped suddenly out of his thoughts. Enjolras was standing by the door of the now empty classroom, hand on the door, looking at him expectantly.
‘Oh, um sorry, I was just thinking.’
‘About what?’ again with the questions from Enjolras.
‘Oh it doesn’t matter.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes I’m sure!’ he snapped, but then immediately regretted it because Enjolras looked hurt.
‘Sorry’ he mumbled, making his way towards the exit of the classroom.
‘No, I’m sorry’ replied Enjolras, ‘I keep asking you lots of questions, you don’t have to answer them if you don’t want to, just tell me if I’m being too much.’ Enjolras rubbed the back of his neck, he seemed nervous? ‘People tell me I can be too intense, so I’m sorry if I come across that way.’
Grantaire shrugged. Of course Enjolras was intense, he burned like the sun, blazing a trail dangerously close to Grantaire’s heart and seeing as Grantaire really wasn’t going to do anything about that, not that he could anyway, he might as well accept the fact that he was going to get burnt. Enjolras was just…….Enjolras. But he wasn’t about to admit all of that so shrugging seemed like the best response.
‘Well how about we go for some food or something?’ Enjolras asked.
‘Food, Grantaire, food? You want some?’
‘Um, sure I guess’ Grantaire was confused. Only moments ago he’d been all riled up at Enjolras, ready to hate him and his stupid friend. But with a few carefully selected words, Enjolras had managed to diffuse the tension in the room and Grantaire was already feeling more at ease and more relaxed, perhaps his good mood hadn’t gone completely after all.
The two of them headed into the town centre to track down some calorific food, once they’d got some chicken and chips between them they continued to a nearby park and Enjolras sat down quite gracefully on a park bench, whilst Grantaire just flopped down beside him.
‘I hope I get to stay here a little while’ said Enjolras after a pause.
‘Oh?’ said Grantaire around the straw of his coke.
‘Yeah, I’ve been on the move for a long time now and it would be nice to be in one place for a while’
‘Where were you before you came here?’ asked Grantaire and he felt pleased to be the one asking Enjolras the questions this time. He continued to chew on the straw of his drink.
‘Well, all over really, London, Liverpool, Glasgow, New York, Athens, Johannesburg, Taipei and….Paris.’
‘Woah, that’s a lot of places’ said Grantaire, stunned.
‘Yeah, New York was okay, very busy but loads of different ideas and cultures all mushed together, really great, but my family is originally from France so it’s always nice to go back there.’
‘Wow’ repeated Grantaire, ‘And I’ve never been further North than Watford.’ He looked down at the drink between his hands, the straw all bent and chewed; much like his life.
‘That’s not a bad thing’ said Enjolras, ‘At least you’ve been able to put down roots, travelling is okay but if you’ve got nowhere to properly call home then it’s difficult.’
‘Mmmm, still though,’ said Grantaire, thinking about his own home life which in no way resembled Enjolras’s expectation of it, ‘you’ve had a great life.’
‘I know I’m luckier than most’ said Enjolras slowly, he seemed to be considering his words before he spoke them and Grantaire turned to look at him, ‘But a life without love is no life at all’.
‘You don’t have love in your life?’ asked Grantaire before he could keep his mouth shut.
Enjolras pulled a face in return, ‘I thought I could live without it’ he replied, looking away from Grantaire, instead focusing on the passers-by in the park, ‘I mean, I’m talking about romantic love here, not like, love for friends or anything, I had some great friends back in France and they were my world you know…’
Grantaire didn’t know, seeing as he’d never really had friends, and definitely not ones that he’d loved.
‘But I always shunned romantic love, I thought it was a waste of time, there were better things to be getting on with, I thought it would change who I was…’ Enjolras laughed bitterly and for a moment he looked a hundred years old to Grantaire, someone who had lost the passion and determination of youth, someone who looked like they’d learnt a hard lesson. It was awful, Grantaire didn’t want to see that Enjolras, he wanted the fiery young man, the dangerous, fervent guy who was obviously going to go far in life.
Going to go places you couldn’t even dream of
‘And love does change you...’ continued Enjolras quietly, ‘But I didn’t realise that that was a good thing until it was too late.’
Grantaire could only sit in silence. What was he supposed to say to that? He set his mostly finished drink down on the bench and wrung his hands together.
‘Oh, well’ he managed to mumble, ‘I…guess I wouldn’t know’
Enjolras seemed to snap out of his reverie and stared at Grantaire in shock, ‘You’ve never…loved anyone?’
‘No…not loved…’ said Grantaire not quite sure whether he was telling the truth as he looked at the only guy who had ever come close to capturing Grantaire’s affection.
‘Oh’ said Enjolras with an expression that Grantaire interpreted as pity.
‘But hey, you know, I’ve still been with people, like you know I’ve had sex’ he blurted, oh God, why did he say that? ‘You don’t need love for that’
‘Oh’ said Enjolras, going a little pink, ‘Well I wouldn’t know’
‘What?!’ gaped Grantaire. Did, Enjolras just say he’d never had sex? Like, on what planet could this guy not get any? ‘Seriously? But…But...’
‘But what?’ said Enjolras sounding annoyed.
‘Oh hey, I’m not making fun of you’ Grantaire was quick to emphasise that and he put up his hands in a peace gesture, ‘I’m just shocked you know, you’re a good looking guy, girls must queue up for you.’
‘Just as I’m sure they do for you’ deflected Enjolras smoothly.
‘No they don’t cos I’m gay’ said Grantaire quickly, wanting to make that clear. But then he immediately felt horrified, he’d just announced his sexuality to a guy he’d only just met yesterday and was seriously starting to fancy and oh God, he’d just ruined everything. Now Enjolras was going to leave because he’d want nothing to do with Grantaire anymore.
You’ve just fucked everything up. Like always. You’re incapable to doing anything right.
‘Bothers you does it?’ said Grantaire bitterly, looking at his shoes.
‘No’ said Enjolras quietly but strongly and it made Grantaire look back up at him. His eyes caught Enjolras’s and they stared at one another, sitting on the same bench, bodies turned towards each other. Blue eyes looked into green ones and Grantaire felt that feeling from earlier return, the one that made heat spread all over his body, but this time it wasn’t comforting, it was tingling, Goosebumps raising up on his arms, the hair on the back of his neck standing up. His breath caught in his throat and the moment seemed to stretch on forever. He felt like he was looking into Enjolras’s soul. The blue eyes an open sky, beckoning him, encouraging him to spread his wings and fly, to reach for happiness, he could do it couldn’t he? Just try…..happiness?
Then Enjolras spoke, still quiet but forceful ‘Don’t you ever think that something like that would bother me’
Grantaire could only gasp in response. His body didn’t seem to be working, he realised he and Enjolras were actually quite close together, here on this bench.
‘Alright’ he whispered, finally breaking the eye contact, and looking down at his hands resting on the seat of the bench, just inches from Enjolras’s ‘Well thanks for not freaking out over it’
‘Anyone who would treat you differently just because you’re gay is not worth your time’ said Enjolras. His fingers twitched as he spoke and Grantaire fought the impulse to reach out and trap them under his own.
‘Well, I’m not worth anybody’s time anyway so-‘
‘Then that’s their loss, not mine’ said Enjolras firmly in a tone that brokered no argument. His hands now clenched into fists as his whole body leaned back and he looked over Grantaire as he said ‘Why do you think so little of yourself?’
‘Just….leave it’ Grantaire said, a lump rising in his throat. He pulled his hands back into his lap. Enjolras really wasn’t helping things, he was just handing Grantaire reasons to fall for him.
‘Okay’ said Enjolras, clearly not wanting to leave it, but accepting Grantaire’s wishes and now Grantaire felt awful, he was being so rude and Enjolras was just trying to be nice. Was this why he had no friends? Was he just incapable of doing anything right?
‘So,’ said Enjolras a bit of forced brightness in his voice, ‘Let’s not talk about love or relationships and instead you can help me with the art homework because I don’t have a clue what I’m doing’
‘Oh God, you really don’t do you?’ grinned Grantaire.
‘Don’t you dare start laughing at me’ warned Enjolras.
‘I can’t help it, you really are awful at it, why you ever thought it would be an easy option I don’t know’
‘Just because you can draw a bowl of fruit-‘
‘A bowl of fruit that actually resembles a bowl of fruit and not just a splogdy mess’
‘It was abstract?’ suggested Enjolras grasping at straws.
‘Right, you keep telling yourself that’
‘Help me?’ pleaded Enjolras and ohgodohgod the look he was giving Grantaire, there was no way on earth he was ever going to be able to refuse this guy.
‘You know, if you want tutoring, I charge you know’
‘You are going to extort money from me because of my lack of talent?’ said Enjolras in horror.
‘Your words mate not mine’ smirked Grantaire.
‘You…bastard’ breathed Enjolras shaking his head, but it was seconds before he and Grantaire burst out laughing together. They spent a while longer on that bench in the early spring evening just talking, occasionally laughing and moving towards the first good friendship Grantaire had ever experienced.
Grantaire couldn’t ever remember being this happy. Maybe he should try it more often.
Hope you are all well and if you are going back to work/school this week or next then best of luck, I'm sure you will all be awesome :)
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all the best,
Darkened weather arches,
Redeeming an old debt of the sun
To take a drink from your well
Like water you will run.
Darkened weather arches,
Hovering over your room
To take a drink from your well
And drink until you're gone.
To hold you, to know you and to let you go
(Arches, Agnes Obel)
It had been a week since Enjolras had come to earth in the guise of a human and had met Grantaire. And he’d been with Grantaire every single day; in college and then even at the weekend where the two of them had hung out together, the weather just good enough to let them wander the streets and parks of London without needing to seek cover or warmth inside.
It had been the best week of Enjolras’s existence since becoming an angel. He had a drive that he’d not felt since he’d been alive and the in the throes of revolution. His determination to save Grantaire’s soul from the Darkness was strong. Every minute he was in Grantaire’s company he was bombarding the teenager with Light vibes, even when Grantaire had gone home for the evening, Enjolras stayed throughout the night, sitting on the roof of his house and keeping up a constant stream of positive energy to surround Grantaire.
And it was all having an effect.
Slowly, very slowly but surely the miasma around Grantaire was reducing. The effects on his person were noticeable: the dark circles under his eyes had faded because he was now getting a decent night’s sleep every night, his face was less gaunt as he was eating more and his hair now had a glossy shine to it. Even more noticeable were the changes in Grantaire’s personality: he was more cheerful, that familiar quick wit returning and so too an element of extravagance. It was undeniable, Grantaire was in recovery.
Enjolras knew it was still going to take a long time before Grantaire was truly well again in body and soul, his recovery was fragile and he still had spells where the negative energy overtook him but they were lessening in their frequency and intensity.
Enjolras was prepared to stick around for as long as was necessary until Grantaire could reach the point where he could generate his own Light vibes. At the moment he was using all the ones Enjolras was sending his way which was fine- as an angel Enjolras had an almost unlimited supply of Light- but to be considered back to a healthy balance Grantaire had to create his own positive energy and he was not really up to that point just yet.
Still, Enjolras was happy to see the positive changes to Grantaire even if they were making things a bit…..complicated.
The physical changes to Grantaire only served to make him much more attractive and Enjolras kept having to stop himself from just staring at the young man. Sometimes Grantaire would catch him looking at him and Enjolras had to keep coming up with excuses and furiously ignore his cheeks heating up. He was a godamn hundred year old angel for goodness sake! He should not be getting flustered over a teenager. But there was just something about the dark curly hair, often just shoved under a beanie and the bright green eyes, that was…just…very hard for Enjolras. No pun intended. God…..
Added to this, Grantaire’s personality changes were even more confusing for Enjolras. With an increase in confidence this twenty-first century Grantaire was beginning to show a lot more similarities to the nineteenth century one. The previous reincarnation of Grantaire had been funny, flirtatious and annoying. This version had taken to calling Enjolras ‘Apollo’ after a lesson on Greek history in college one day and it wound Enjolras up no end, which Grantaire seemed to find hilarious.
Enjolras just didn’t know what to do. The more balanced Grantaire was becoming the more he felt out of his depth. Grantaire was starting to run circles around him. It was quite disconcerting…but in a good way of course. Grantaire was starting to become everything he had the potential to be. Enjolras just wished it didn’t have to be so conflicting, Grantaire was coming to resemble more and more the Grantaire Enjolras had fallen in love with and Enjolras had to keep reminding himself that they were two different people and he was NOT to fall in love with this Grantaire because he couldn’t destroy Grantaire’s life again.
And that was it.
The deep rooted fear, buried inside Enjolras, the fear that he would be a cause in Grantaire’s death just like before. That was why it was so important he save Grantaire’s soul from the Darkness. Grantaire deserved so much more, he deserved to live and Enjolras had condemned the other Grantaire to an early death and it was all his fault. Enjolras knew that it would never be enough to absolve what he had done but he hoped that by saving Grantaire this time, he could finally start to atone for his terrible, terrible error.
This Grantaire would never know but Enjolras hoped it would ease the feeling of guilt weighing him down, the feeling of guilt which had followed him around for a hundred years, that tight feeling in his chest, he hoped it would ease…even though he didn’t really think it would. He had caused his friends to needlessly die and it was his punishment to live with that for the rest of his existence. That was why he’d been chosen to be an angel, to be forced to face up to his reckless, stupid decisions which had led to such tragedy. It was all his fault.
‘Enjolras?’ a tentative voice startled him from his thoughts. Grantaire was looking at him, concern on the teenager’s face.
‘Oh, um yes?’ Enjolras replied, forgetting where they had been in conversation. They were sat on the bench in the park near the college which had quickly become ‘theirs’ over the past week. Grantaire was wrapped up in a dark jacket and red beanie this time, a scarf trailing around his neck to keep out the spring chill. Enjolras was similarly wrapped up in layers with a knitted jumper over his checked shirt. He had a navy scarf but no hat, his blonde curls left wild as usual.
‘Sorry, it’s just….you were looking really…I don’t know...upset?’
Enjolras ruffled his feathers silently behind him. He’d lost focus and without realising it his Light levels had dropped significantly. He was not only no longer substituting Grantaire but was actually in danger of making himself vulnerable to Darkness as well. He couldn’t afford to entertain such dark and negative thoughts. His focus must be Grantaire and Grantaire’s wellbeing and that meant generating as much Light as possible, and right now they both needed it.
But just then there came a crunching sound of shoes on gravel as someone approached.
‘Well, hello Grantaire,’ came a drawling voice from across the path. Both Enjolras and Grantaire snapped their heads up, ‘Long time no see’ and Enjolras was horrified to see that the voice belonged to a smirking….Montparnasse.
‘W-what are you doing here?’ spluttered Grantaire looking at the young guy dressed head to toe in black, standing a few feet away, his breath misting in the cold air.
Enjolras’s brain was whirring. He had not expected, of all people, Montparnasse to show up in some damp park in London. And even more strange and disturbing was the fact that he seemed to know Grantaire and Grantaire seemed to know him. And now alarm bells were going off in Enjolras’s mind because dread was rolling off Grantaire in waves, the blackness returning and shrouding the young man in inky tendrils. Enjolras’s eyes flickered back and forth between the two because although he could tell Grantaire could recognise this man he was also positive Grantaire couldn’t see the dark, glistening feathers sprouting from Montparnasse’s back.
Montparnasse was bad news. Really bad news.
And not just bad news for Enjolras, but also extremely bad news for Grantaire.
‘Oh I thought I’d just drop in’ said Montparnasse with a smirk and a flare of his wings. The intonation wasn’t lost on Enjolras.
‘Oh…ummm……er’ Grantaire seemed to be struggling to function, Enjolras could feel his panic threatening to overwhelm and he boosted his Light, although at this point he wasn’t sure it was going to do much good. Montparnasse’s unexpected presence was going to undo all that Enjolras had been working on all week. And in a matter of seconds. Grantaire was so fragile right now.
‘Come now, Grantaire’ and the way Montparnasse said the teenager’s name made Enjolras want to blast him into oblivion. ‘This is no way to greet a past...acquaintance. Aren’t you going to introduce me to your…..friend?’ asked Montparnasse, faux innocence on his face.
‘Oh..ummm…yeah…umm..right…Montparnasse this is Enjolras…Enjolras this is my….ummm… this is Montparnasse’
‘Nice to meet you’ said Montparnasse, knowing full well that he and Enjolras were already very well acquainted with one another.
Enjolras you see, had known Montparnasse for a very long time. He’d once been an angel of Light, like Enjolras, only at some point he’d succumbed to the Darkness (willingly or unwillingly) and had fallen.
Now enthralled by the Darkness, Montparnasse spread destruction wherever he went. Where before, the Darkness had only seeping existence, no actual physical presence- they preferred to ooze into human life, leeching the Light from their victims - now they had an actual manifestation of the Darkness. An agent to do their bidding. And Montparnasse proved to not only be adept but devastatingly effective at his new role.
In Enjolras’s eyes there was nothing lower, Montparnasse had betrayed everything he stood for; he was a traitor. And on top of this, he was a very successful traitor. He’d spilled secrets to the Darkness, allowing the Dark presence on Earth to grow at an unprecedented rate. The man standing in front of Enjolras, pretending to be a human, was single-handedly responsible for more destruction and Light losses than any other agent of Darkness. The price Light had paid for Montparnasse’s fall had been exceedingly heavy.
Enjolras had met Montparnasse a couple of times, and though they had only been fleeting occasions, they had left an impression. Enjolras had always been deep into a mission and Montparnasse had just danced around the edge of the situation; his presence subtle but disarming. It had been all Enjolras could do to salvage as much positive energy from the outcomes as possible. Enjolras couldn’t think of anyone he disliked more than the man now stood on the path in front of him.
‘Hello’ said Enjolras coldly, trying to convey to Montparnasse how very unwelcome he was here.
But the important question was how come Grantaire knew him? This wasn’t looking good, and neither was Grantaire. Enjolras tore his eyes from Montparnasse’s knowing smirk to focus on the teenager. Grantaire had gone pale, his skin clammy from panicked sweat. Montparnasse wasn’t’ even broadcasting his Dark vibes very much, it was just his sheer presence Grantaire was reacting to. It had set of some sort of chemical reaction in Grantaire who was now completely shrouded in Dark energy, even worse, if it was possible than when Enjolras first met him a week ago.
‘How do you know Grantaire?’ Montparnasse asked in that same innocent tone. To any onlooker it would just seem like the two angels, one Light, one Dark, were making light conversation. However, underneath the glamour their wings betrayed their emotions: Montparnasse leisurely preening, confident, assured, Enjolras flaring his wings, feathers bristling, expressing his anger.
‘We go to the same school’ Enjolras ground out, forcing himself to stay calm. It would not do to fly off the handle, he had to try and stay in control of the situation, for Grantaire’s sake. Grantaire, who seemed to have gone into shock and was barely registering what was happening.
‘Oh how delightful’ chirped Montparnasse.
‘How do you know Grantaire?’ Enjolras asked, rather rudely.
Montparnasse’s grin grew so wide as he delivered his crushing statement, ‘Oh you know, Grantaire and I dated a while ago.’
Time seemed to grind to a halt.
Enjolras’s brain couldn’t process what that traitor had said.
However, this was the moment Grantaire sprung from whatever torpor had held him static and he turned to Enjolras, his face full of horror. His pleading green eyes met Enjolras’s as the word ‘Please’ fell from his split lip, bitten into so hard in the last few minutes it was a red, bloodied streak amongst the pink.
In Enjolras’s eyes, he saw the young man: vulnerable, defenceless and now, broken. Enjolras had failed to protect him. The Darkness now enveloped him so much there was little Enjolras could do. The entire miasma had been generated by Grantaire himself. How could Enjolras protect him against himself?
‘Grantaire’ whispered Enjolras in response. Unable to say anything more, anything less.
What had Montparnasse just said?
Grantaire and Montparnasse?
‘I’m sorry’ Grantaire choked out, his eyes filling up with tears, but before they could spill he had spun away from Enjolras, from Montparnasse and he fled down the path, away from the two angels, one fallen but victorious, one glorious but overcome.
‘Grantaire’ said Enjolras, his voice breaking as he watched his charge leave the park, but was unable to move himself. His own Light levels were fluctuating wildly, he wasn’t stable, he was vulnerable, he was weak.
‘Oh dear’ chimed Montparnasse, watching the young figure as well. ‘Did I say the wrong thing?’
And now emotions were flooding back into Enjolras’s body, the foremost was anger. He flew at Montparnasse, grabbing him by the collar and slamming him into a tree. That they were six feet off the ground didn’t seem to register in his mind.
‘Oh look out Enjolras’ Montparnasse drawled, ‘Someone might see us, wouldn’t that be fun to explain to the Light Council?’
‘Shut your snake mouth, you traitor’ growled Enjolras, not caring if there were humans about to see them.
‘Now, now Enjolras, how’s that anyway to greet an old friend?’
‘You and I are not friends’
‘Oh and I was hoping to get to know you better, shame’ Montparnasse was grinning as he spoke, until Enjolras twisted his jacket collar and he started to have problems breathing. ‘You…can’t actually kill me you know….on account of me being already dead and all that’
‘Nothing would give me greater pleasure than ending your existence, you piece of scum’ hissed Enjolras, ‘Now tell me, what have you done to Grantaire?’
‘Oh you care about him now do you?’
‘What is that supposed to mean?’ asked Enjolras, grinding Montparnasse further into the trunk of an underserving beech.
‘Only…’ Montparnasse was definitely struggling to find breath now, ‘Only that throughout your entire…little…. miserable life on Earth, you didn’t give a shit about him…. You treated him horribly, and all he ever did was worship the ground you walked upon. Masters treat their slaves better than you treated him Enj-‘
‘Enough!’ cried Enjolras and with his left fist he punched Montparnasse in the mouth.
Spitting blood, Montparnasse managed to force out ‘Punch me all you want, you hooligan. It won’t change what you did. You led all your little friends to an early grave, even those who didn’t want to go. Their blood, just like mine, is on your hands.’
Enjolras released Montparnasse in horror. The angel of Darkness wiped his mouth on the back of his hand, spat out another globule of blood and then grinned bloodily at Enjolras.
‘In answer to your question, I was there for Grantaire when you weren’t Enjolras. I provided him with an escape when it all got too much. And he came willingly. He needed it. Some people just need that release the Darkness can provide. I was only too happy to assist.’
‘You…you…’Enjolras was lost for words.
‘You know, he’s almost resistant to Light. He just soaked up all I had to offer, he was so desperate for it. He took everything I gave him. And then, when he started to create his own Dark energy I knew I had found someone special. I might see if my bosses are recruiting. Grantaire would make a great agent of Darkness.’
Enjolras’s vision went white with rage. He leapt at Montparnasse, knocking them both to the ground. They slammed into the gravel path with such force, grit was flying everywhere. Montparnasse’s wings were beating frantically as he tried to get away from the burning onslaught that was Enjolras. Enjolras kept hitting every inch of Montparnasse he could reach. He managed to pin him to the ground and proceeded to crash his fist into that perfect, slimy, conniving face.
‘Enough!’ a booming voice rang out across the park. Enjolras ceased his aggression as he looked up to see Valjean standing before the two of them.
‘Oh look who it is…’ wheezed Montparnasse, ‘Valjean, my hero, get your pitbull off me.’
‘You will be quiet traitor’ commanded Valjean.
Montparnasse rolled his eyes ‘I don’t have to take orders from you anymore.’
‘Quiet’ ordered Valjean and miraculously, Montparnasse actually fell silent.
‘Enjolras get up, you do realise you are still visible to humans? Clean up and go look after your charge, or have you forgotten why you are here?’ Valjean’s tone was cold and harsh. It was like a bucket of freezing water washing over him. Bringing him to his senses.
‘Yes sir…sorry’. Enjolras, chastised, got up and glamoured himself so he was invisible to humans. He straightened up and flared his wings briefly before flying off in the direction Grantaire had fled.
He glanced behind him once to see Valjean moving to offer a hand to Montparnasse, but the fallen angel simply scorned the offer and winked out of existence. No doubt going to lick his wounds in whatever dark hovel he called home.
Enjolras tried to put the encounter out of his mind. He needed to focus on Grantaire, but he was worried what state he was going to find the young man in when he eventually caught up with him.
here's the next chapter, I hope you like it! Let me know what you think, comments always welcome. Don't forget to kudos if you like it :)
I'm not sure when the next chapter will be, I've got an assignment to write for the Halloween Les Mis fic exchange so that is my next priority. Also, its the Rugby World Cup atm and I do love my sports fics (i.e Commonwealth Gaymes, check it out if you haven't already) so I may have to write a les mis rubgy fic. One word: Combeferre, that is all :P
until next time, big hugs,
Chapter 8: All this bad blood
Okay, so there are warnings for this chapter:
blood, self harm and attempted suicide, panic attacks,
please don't read if that's a problem for you, you can skip to the next chapter which makes a couple of references to it and mentions blood but doesn't go into detail.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Forgive me for I am not acting myself
But these bees in my breath have to come out
Well you give me no reason to doubt your word
But I still somehow still have my reasons
And I'm sorry I don't mean to scare you at all
I'm just trying to drain all this bad blood
All this bad blood
All my bad blood
(Bad Blood, Bear’s Den)
Grantaire didn’t remember getting home, he didn’t remember the sweaty run back to his house, his mind seemed to have blanked out. All he knew was that he had to leave.
He remembered locking the bathroom door and sliding to the floor, but the rest was just swallowed up by blackness and pulsating feelings of dread and loathing and god why won’t this just end…?
Sometime later, he didn’t’ know how long, but he was being consumed by darkness. It wasn’t painful, it was actually comforting. Long tendrils of black threaded through his mind, wrapping him up, smothering him with warmth. He was floating, all around was black in his mind’s eye.
He felt as if he was slowly moving, being dragged downwards, rhythmically, as if someone was tugging on a rope. Further and further down he sank. Warmer and warmer he was getting, it was softening his feelings, things were getting blurry around the edges. But Grantaire didn’t panic. Cocooned in the blackness he relaxed further, it was comforting, it was a part of him, familiar. It had been there for a long time. It was going to take care of him. He didn’t have to worry anymore, he didn’t have to struggle.
It was always so much effort to struggle.
Grantaire gave in and let himself be drawn ever deeper into the darkness.
His eyelids twitched.
It was a faint voice, speaking his name. But it was so quiet, he kept his eyes closed and ignored it.
It was louder now, but muffled, as though underwater. It wasn’t Grantaire speaking the words. It was someone else. He wished they would go away.
Leave me alone, I just want to rest.
The voice was louder still. It sounded as if it wanted something from him. What were they thinking? Grantaire had nothing more to give.
Something rattled then. A shaking. The dark cocoon around him vibrated.
‘No, no no no no no, please, please….come on Grantaire!’
The voice sounded worried, scared. But the shaking was getting annoying now. Grantaire scrunched his eyelids in annoyance, a scowl running across his face.
‘Please, please,……oh God….please, Grantaire, I’m begging you, don’t do this!’
And now the voice was shaking as well, it sounded upset, it sounded desperate. It was begging.
What does it want? Can’t it just leave me alone?
‘Grantaire…hold on okay?’
And then something seared across his vision, despite his eyelids being closed. It was a streak of brilliant white light. And it burned his retinas, leaving residual streaks everywhere in sight.
Grantaire gasped. The light flashed across in front of him again. It slashed at the darkness, trying to tear through the dark, soft walls around Grantaire. He opened his eyes, but was still in the dark, seeing only blackness. He moaned.
No, this isn’t happening. This isn’t supposed to happen. Go away. Leave us alone!
The cocoon around him was being ripped, as yet more streaks of light tore through the protective walls. With it came a wind, gusting, howling through the holes, buffeting Grantaire from side-to side. It was cold and sharp and so different. The wind stung his cheeks as it whipped past him. More of the walls were being torn down, there was now more light than darkness. Grantaire squinted against the brightness.
It hurt. The light and the wind.
And then suddenly the remaining darkness surrounding Grantaire dissolved violently. It was all white now, the black breaking into millions of…….feathers?
All around him, off white feathers were tumbling down, over and over and over.
It was beautiful.
The dark may have been warm and soft. But the light revealed beauty, true beauty. And now Grantaire could hear the voice again.
‘Oh God, please…..Grantaire….please….you can’t do this to me…I can’t lose you….n-not again!’
Grantaire frowned. He knew that voice.
‘Grantaire’ his name was sobbed, the person the voice belonged to was in a lot of pain. Grantaire’s heart ached. Nobody should be in pain because of him.
‘Grantaire’ and then the voice was only a whisper. Fading. No! Come back! Who are you?
Grantaire began to run, he didn’t know where, everywhere was thick with feathers, still raining down, fluttering silently, starting to pile up at his feet. He took several strides forward.
Where are you?
He carried on but he knew he was going to soon lose the voice.
‘Where are you?!’ he yelled and then everything burned.
Grantaire regained consciousness slowly. It began with a long moan, using up all of his breath, as sensation returned to his body. And along with it came the pain.
Eyes still shut, he keened, arching his back as the pain washed through him. His breaths started coming hard and fast as his heartrate escalated in response to the pain throbbing from his wrists.
‘Ahhhhhhhhh…..ahhhhhhhhh….ahhhhhh’ his screams were strangled as he was short of breath from panic.
‘Shhh shhhhh shhhhhh’ said a soft voice, soothing him. It was the voice from before.
‘Ahhhhhhh….i-it –h-h-hurts’ he managed to force out through his teeth which were gritted together.
‘It’s okay, shhhhh sshhhhh Grantaire, I’ve got you, I’ve got you, it’s okay now.’
Grantaire shook his head jerkily, eyes still not opening, ‘It hurts’ he wailed, ‘It hurts, it hurts, it hurts’ he said quickly, his breathing rapidly getting out of control. He tried to curl in on himself to cope with the pain but arms around him stopped him.
‘Okay, I know it hurts, it’s okay Grantaire, can you breath deeply for me? Breath in……and then breath out? Can you do that for me? Just breath in slowly…..’
‘Noooo’ Grantaire moaned. His head was pounding now too from lack of oxygen and his eyes remained tightly closed.
‘Grantaire come on, can you open your eyes? Can you look at me?’
The voice was soothing and reassuring, and opening his eyes would be easier than calming his breathing, so still panting, Grantaire slowly opened his eyes.
The world swam in front of him, out of focus, but then they adjusted and a pale face came into view above him.
It was Enjolras.
Grantaire gasped, but his breathing didn’t slow, it was completely out of control now, he felt weak, light-headed.
‘That’s it’ Enjolras beamed at him, ‘Right Grantaire, focus on me, look at me. That’s it, right now, let’s get your breathing under control yeah? Can you breathe in slowly for me?’
Grantaire tried, he really did. But he really didn’t feel in control right now, and he panicked further.
‘I…I-I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t’ he said in panic.
‘Yes you can’ said Enjolras firmly, ‘Come on now, breathe in sloooooowly’ he drew the word out to emphasise his own breath, ‘That’s it, now breathe out, nice and long, come on, I know it’s difficult but you can do it Grantaire, I know you can. Keep looking at me, that’s it.’
Slowly, breath by breath, Grantaire managed to get his inhalations under control. He stared up at Enjolras the entire time. Losing himself in the blue eyes. Enjolras never broke eye contact, not once as he helped Grantaire overcome his panic attack.
As Grantaire began to breathe more evenly, he gradually became aware of his surroundings and the situation he found himself in. His head and shoulders were lain across Enjolras lap as the blonde knelt on Grantaire’s bathroom floor. Once arm was cradling Grantaire’s head, fingers rhythmically stroking through his hair, in time with the slow breathing he was encouraging Grantaire to do. His other arm, his left arm, was gripped tightly around both of Grantaire’s wrists.
Grantaire also noticed that the searing pain he’d felt earlier was subsiding. His wrists and arms were now filled with an ache. Grantaire wasn’t sure if it was the pain truly subsiding, or that he was less able to care about it. There was something hypnotic looking into Enjolras’s eyes. Like he could get lost, like he could soar away in the blue sky colour they reflected. Like he could be free.
He sighed and closed his eyes. It was too much.
‘Grantaire?’ Enjolras asked carefully.
‘Mmmm?’ he answered. He felt tired, really tired. Could he just go to sleep now? Enjolras was here, he was comfy.
Although, he noticed the pain was returning to his wrists, it was getting stronger by the second.
His eyes flew open again in horror.
‘Grantaire, Grantaire look at me!’ cried Enjolras. But Grantaire wasn’t looking at the blonde, he was trying to sit up to look at his wrists, still locked in Enjolras’s tight grip.
Despite Enjolras trying to keep his head down, Grantaire managed to glance down and what he saw brought it all back.
He was covered in blood, his arms, hands, fingertips, and all down his jeans too, some splashed on his t-shirt.
‘Oh God’ he croaked, panic threatening to bubble up inside him again.
‘Hey, hey, Grantaire, look at me, look at me!’ Enjolras sounded panicked now, his other hand, the one that had been in Grantaire’s hair now came loose to push his shoulders back down onto Enjolras’s knees.
‘Oh God, oh God, oh God’ said Grantaire, before his eyes found Enjolras’s again. And when he did, he felt something whoosh through him, like the wind from before, only this time it caressed his body delicately, brushing over him gently.
‘Ssshhhh, shhhhh it’s okay Grantaire, look at me, it’s alright, I’ve got you.’
‘Enjolras’ whispered Grantaire brokenly and sorrow flashed across Enjolras’s face. Grantaire hated that he’d put that expression there.
‘I’ve got you’ replied Enjolras.
‘Sshhhhh, there’s no need to apologise’ said Enjolras gently, his hand returning to card through Grantaire’s curls.
‘I-I didn’t mean, I- I don’t know why-‘
‘You don’t have to explain anything’ said Enjolras and he was the one who broke eye contact this time as he raised up Grantaire’s wrists so they were in his sightline. Enjolras drew back his fingers and thumb to reveal… completely unbroken skin.
‘See?’ said Enjolras softly, ‘No harm done’
‘Ssshhh, now let’s see if we can you into bed’
Grantaire was very confused. His head was thick and his thoughts fuzzy. Enjolras’s voice and eyes were the only thing he could focus on. Steadily, Enjolras encouraged him to sit up, and then to stand up. His legs were shaky and his socks were sliding on sticky blood on the bathroom tiles. But Grantaire didn’t panic, he was pliant under Enjolras’s instructions. Leaning on Enjolras he was able to slowly remove his damp t-shirt and when the blonde helped him with his belt and the fastening of his jeans he was able to step out of them as they pooled to the floor. Enjolras encouraged Grantaire to put his hands on his shoulders as the blonde crouched down and removed his socks carefully, one by one.
Reaching for a sponge, Enjolras proceeded to wipe any remaining blood off his body.
He knew he should feel embarrassed, or self-conscious, but he found he didn’t care. His mind was floating, like before, only this time it was amongst whiteness and feathers. Waves of light washed over him, accompanied by a mild breeze. He felt content.
Then Enjolras helped him leave the bathroom and treading carefully they made it to his bedroom. Enjolras helped set him down on his bed so he was sitting. Before the other guy rummaged around in Grantaire’s drawers to find a clean sleeping t-shirt and boxer shorts.
Enjolras then turned his back as Grantaire dressed himself, providing him with privacy, although he really didn’t mind. He shakily managed to put the t-shirt on. His limbs felt loose and slightly detached from his body as he managed to swap his underwear. Once he was decent Enjolras turned back around and encouraged Grantaire to lay back on his bed and Enjolras tucked the covers up beside him.
Grantaire smiled and looked at Enjolras drowsily. Realising at some point that Enjolras was speaking to him again.
‘Really sorry I had to do this to you, but I knew you weren’t going to calm down again. I hope you forgive me Grantaire, if you sleep I’ll give you back your thoughts tomorrow, I promise.’
Grantaire smiled at Enjolras. It was so nice of him to be here. Grantaire felt protected, he felt safe.
‘I’ll see you tomorrow okay?’ Enjolras had to say it a couple of times before Grantaire realised he was wanting some sort of response from him and he nodded his head absently.
‘I’ve got to do a few things, but Jehan will be looking after you tonight and he won’t let anything happen to you I promise.’
There was a pause.
‘Oh Grantaire, I don’t dare hope that you’ll forgive me for what I’ve done. I almost failed you again. I have failed you again. This should never have happened.’ Enjolras seemed to be upset then. Grantaire reached out a hand to comfort him.
Enjolras just looked at him sadly.
‘I’ll be back in the morning, I promise Grantaire, I’ll be back. I’m going to sort everything out. You won’t ever be hurt like this again.’
Grantaire just looked at him questioningly, he didn’t really understand what Enjolras was saying. But he’d be back tomorrow and that was okay.
Enjolras gave him one last look before getting up and moving to face the window, hopping up onto the ledge and opening the window wide, he lingered there a moment with his back to Grantaire and the room. And Grantaire would have missed it except for the fact he was so focused on Enjolras’s leaving, but three quiet words dropped from Enjolras’s lips:
‘I love you’
And then he was gone. In the blink of an eye, Grantaire was staring at an empty window which swung shut of its own accord.
He was alone. But he wasn’t afraid. Enjolras would be back.
He was alone, so Enjolras never heard the words that Grantaire replied with:
‘I love you too’
Hope you were okay with this chapter, I know it's fairly intense.
I have written the next chapter so that will be up tomorrow for you guys, once I've finished editing it.
Sorry for the long absence, October was a horrible month for me IRL so it's nice to get back to writing.
any feedback via kudos or comments is welcomed and appreciated, thank you all so much,
Chapter 9: I would abandon the Moon
As promised, the next chapter :) Again, some warnings for mention and reference to blood and attempted suicide and self harm, not as graphic as the last chapter, only references, take care though x
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
I would abandon the moon,
Turning my back to the light
Till it’s just me and the dark
Before your heart,
As Enjolras stepped out into the crisp evening he used his wings which to push the window from which he’d climbed out of closed behind him. Flying upwards he touched down gently on the roof tiles.
‘He’s going to be alright Enjolras’ came a voice from the dark. It belonged to another angel crouched on the slates further up the roof.
‘He’s not alright now’ replied Enjolras coldly.
‘He’s alive, he’s sleeping, he’s peaceful’ said Jehan, standing up and moving down towards Enjolras. Dressed mostly in pale blue: a loose shirt and tight-fitting trousers with his gold wings tucked neatly behind him, he look every inch your typical angel. His hair was braided in a plait coming down over one shoulder.
‘Yeah and how is he going to be when the sun comes up?’ said Enjolras angrily. He was struggling to process what had just happened.
‘Jehan, I fucked up. I fucked up so badly’ said Enjolras in despair. He looked down at his hands, there was still some of Grantaire’s blood underneath his fingernails….when he’d burst into that bathroom and seen Grantaire lying there on the floor, covered in blood……
‘Enjolras, listen to me, you saved him. He’s going to be alright, can you calm down?’
‘NO I CAN’T’ yelled Enjolras in response ‘You didn’t see him there! You didn’t see him, lying on the floor, his own blood everywhere...’ Enjolras threw his hands up, running them through his hair before stopping as he took in great lungfuls of air, on the edge of panic, ‘I-I…I thought he was- I thought I’d lost him’ he choked out, tears flooding his wide eyes.
Jehan, always graceful, hopped down to stand in front of Enjolras. He cradled Enjolras’s face in his slim fingers, forcing Enjolras to look at him.
‘He’s not gone. He’s still here….because of you….you saved him’
‘I caused this’ said Enjolras brokenly.
‘No. The Darkness caused this. The Darkness led him to do this. You were the one who saved him. Your Light saved him.’
‘I can’t do this’ whispered Enjolras hopelessly.
‘Yes you can. And you will’ said Jehan with a smile as he reached up on his tiptoes and kissed Enjolras on the cheek.
Enjolras said quietly, ‘I have to end this’. He turned his face away, out of Jehan’s loose grasp and looked to the dark horizon.
‘Enjolras’ said Jehan in a warning tone, ‘Whatever you are thinking of doing-‘
‘Can you see the outcome?’
‘No, I still can’t see anything, the Darkness is to strong, there’s too much riding on this situation…but Enjolras, I do not have to have the gift of foresight to know where you are going, to whom you are going and I would strongly caution against-‘
‘You don’t get to tell me what to do’ said Enjolras flatly.
‘Is there anything I can say to stop you going? Can you not remain here with Grantaire?’
‘No. I must go, I have to end this. Grantaire will not be the one paying the price for my mistakes’ Enjolras stretched his wings out fully and rose in the air a few feet.
‘Look out for him Jehan, make sure no harm comes to him. I will be back at first light’
‘I do not like it. But rest assured our friend Grantaire will be safe in my care’
‘You don’t get to call him friend!’ snarled Enjolras whirling around to face the other angel. ‘Not after you left him, you left all of them to die! When you knew, you knew what was coming!’
‘Enjolras, I could no more stop the events of 1832 than I could stop the sun from rising’ Jehan explained patiently, although his tone now changed: ‘But you cannot say that Grantaire was not my friend. I loved him Enjolras!’ tears were now welling in the angel’s eyes ‘As I loved all of you! Do not think I do not mourn their passing, every day Enjolras! Every single day!’
Enjolras stared at the other angel. Suddenly all his fallen comrades’ faces were passing before his eyes, and emotions buried deep were threatening to bubble up from within him.
‘I have to end this’ he said grimly, battling to keep a lid on the feelings of love, sorrow and overwhelming loss. ‘Stay here. Take care of him. I’ll be back at dawn’.
And he splayed his wings fully before spinning and flying off into the distance.
He found Montparnasse in what could only described as a gaudy hovel. Gaudy because it was a penthouse suite in West London, a hovel because it was an absolute tip.
Dirty, used clothes, empty bags, boxes, packaging and half eaten containers of food covered nearly all of the available surface area in the flat. The stench of unwashed bodies and mouldy food was overwhelming, so much so that it made Enjolras’s eyes water.
‘Dear Lord’ he choked as he tried to breathe.
‘Oh hello, darling’ called Montparnasse, emerging from the bathroom, looking extra deadly with thick black eyeliner around his inky eyes.
‘You live here?’ Enjolras asked.
‘Not really, I stop by only occasionally. It’s a breeding ground for all things deadly and disgusting, and it offends my nostrils’ said Montparnasse pulling a face.
‘I thought you’d have liked living in a dump like this’ said Enjolras, ‘with the bad attitude, the penchant for all things slimy, a lowlife like you fits right in.’
‘Oooh ouch’ said Montparnasse sarcastically, ‘You know Enjolras, whilst I do embrace all things black and dark, I really do like a bit of glamour you know. How’s this?’ and with a sweep of his arm, the apartment was spotless….and even more garish. Golden columns were spaced out, not really holding the ceiling up, just for outrageous decoration. Lots of mirrors were revealed, where before they had been covered in a congealed substance that Enjolras was not going to question. He could see through one door which led to the bedroom, similarly ostentatiously decorated with gold and marble. The room he was in was revealed to be the living room. There were several arm chairs and two settees spaced out around a large fireplace, a low coffee table in the middle.
Enjolras was pretty shocked at the transformation of the room, ‘How did you do that?’ he asked
‘Interested in what the Dark Arts has to offer are we?’ asked Montparnasse slyly in return.
‘You are insane if you think I’d be interested in betraying my people’ retorted Enjolras.
‘Your people, Your people?’ screeched Montparnasse, with an accompanying shrill cackle. He strode over to the settee and collapsed on it, his full body stretched out on his back, his black wings tucked underneath him. He put his arms behind his head as he looked over at Enjolras.
‘They’re no more your people that they are mine. You’ve been railing against the establishment ever since you were born again Enjolras. I guess nothing’s changed there, but you feel nothing for the rest of the angels. You resent them.’
‘Don’t presume to know-‘
‘To know what?’ interrupted Montparnasse sharply, ‘I’ve been keeping an eye on you Enjolras, once a revolutionary, always a revolutionary. Tiger’s don’t change their stripes. They just get sharper claws.’
‘I’m not interested in anything you have to say’
‘Well we both know that’s not true’ drawled Montparnasse leisurely, ‘How is Grantaire by the way?’
Enjolras clenched his fists by his side as he fought to keep self-control and not turn Montparnasse’s head to pulp.
‘He’s fine’ he forced through gritted teeth.
‘Oh, I really rather hoped he wasn’t’ said Montparnasse sounding disappointed.
‘He’s fine and he’s going to stay fine and then he’s going to get better’
‘Oh really?’ laughed the fallen angel, ‘And who decides that then?’
‘I do’ announced Enjolras.
‘Oh my dear’ said Montparnasse smirking, ‘That really isn’t up to you, and it’s not really up to me either. The Darkness is the one that decides what happens to poor little Grantaire.’
‘THEN YOU WILL MAKE THE FUCKING DARKNESS LEAVE HIM ALONE!’ yelled Enjolras, his composure finally snapping.
‘Oh it is fun to see you angry’ tittered Montparnasse
‘Fuck you Montparnasse’ retorted Enjolras, crossing his arms and moving to the window from which he’d entered the apartment.
Montparnasse, thinking Enjolras was leaving, called out: ‘Not so fast Enjolras, we’re not done speaking yet.’
‘I don’t want to listen to anything more you’ve got to say-‘ said Enjolras.
‘Even if it is about Grantaire?’ asked Montparnasse slyly. Enjolras turned around to face the fallen angel. He was sitting up on the settee now and his expression changed to one of seriousness.
‘You have two minutes’ said Enjolras, striding over and sitting down on the coffee table facing Montparnasse.
The other angel let out a small huff. ‘Fine, I’ll try and be quick. There is a way you could get the darkness to stop hounding Grantaire-‘
‘What is it?’ asked Enjolras quickly.
‘Ahhh not so fast’ said Montparnasse, eyeballing Enjolras. ‘Grantaire is extremely valuable to the Darkness, he has great potential. It’s going to be hard for the Darkness to give him up’
‘What would it take?’
Montparnasse took a deep breath in. He looked at Enjolras like he was gauging how the angel of Light would react to whatever he was going to say next.
‘Well,’ he said slowly, ‘Suppose they got their hands on something better…suppose, instead of a poor little human…they got something…someone better?
It took a moment but then the solution came to Enjolras. He broke the eye contact with Montparnasse as he too took in a deep breath. He rubbed his jaw, not looking at the fallen angel.
‘I think I understand now’ he said. He closed his eyes. If it saved Grantaire? If it meant he got to live? The images of Grantaire lying in a pool of his own blood we too raw, too fresh...too likely to happen again…it can never happen again.
‘It would save Grantaire?’ he asked, looking back at Montparnasse, ‘It would mean the Darkness left him alone, completely? Forever?’
‘They wouldn’t go near him again’ assured Montparnasse, ‘Ever. Although, it wouldn’t stop Grantaire getting into trouble of his own accord, he’s perfectly capable of creating his own dark energy-‘
‘He’d be looked after though-‘ said Enjolras quietly, mostly to himself.
‘Well if your lot fancies babysitting him for the rest of his earthly life, then I suppose-‘
‘I thought they weren’t my lot?’ questioned Enjolras.
‘You know what I mean you pretentious little-‘
‘Fine, I’ll do it’ said Enjolras, cutting Montparnasse off.
Montparnasse looked shocked, like he hadn’t expected Enjolras to actually accept his deal.
Enjolras on the other hand knew he couldn’t refuse. If it meant that Grantaire could live a normal, happy life, then he had to do everything he could to secure that future for him. The guilt that had driven him after the tragedy of his failed revolution, it was driving him now. He didn’t have a choice, Grantaire always, always came first. If this was what Enjolras could give him, then he’d do anything. So what if it was illegal, if it was the ONE THING you were not supposed to do as an angel. Montparnasse was right, throughout his existence he’d been rebelling against the establishment, so what if this time it was the angelic version? They hadn’t done anything to help Grantaire, it had been down to Enjolras to wrench him from the clutches of Darkness just a few short hours ago, where had the Light been then? Enjolras had said all along that he would do anything to save Grantaire, and now he had the chance. Nothing was going to stop him.
‘S-seriously?’ asked Montparnasse, stunned, ‘Like, mate I’m giving you an out here, do you know what you are doing? ‘
‘Then why?’ said Montparnasse genuinely not comprehending.
‘I don’t expect you, the most selfish being on the planet to understand sacrifice’ said Enjolras coldly.
‘I… well no, I can’t understand. You are fucking mental’ Montparnasse was looking at Enjolras with something like…respect. He shook his head, as if he didn’t believe this was actually happening.
‘Well then’ he said, ‘Let’s be quick before you change your mind and seal the deal.’
‘How about….’said Montparnasse eyes darting around the room, clearly thinking, until his eyes landed on Enjolras’s face ‘…a kiss?’ he asked not-so innocently, accompanied by a smirk.
Enjolras gulped. His nervous energy must have been picked up by Montparnasse because the fallen angel’s grin widened, showing particularly pointy teeth.
‘Oh you are so innocent’ he said clearly enjoying Enjolras’s reaction, ‘The Darkness is going to love corrupting you…I hope I get to do it’
‘Oh shut up’ said Enjolras, leaning forward and pecking Montparnasse quickly on the cheek. ‘There, I consent to be an exchange for Grantaire. On the condition that the Darkness leave him alone now, and for the rest of his earthly life, AND any subsequent reincarnations. Grantaire will be free from any influence from the Darkness’
‘Done’ said Montparnasse, mirroring Enjolras and kissing the blonde on the cheek. Enjolras wasn’t sure whether the fleeting touch from Montparnasse actually hurt or whether it was because his cheeks were now flaming. The other angel lingered, breathing hot air onto Enjolras’s face, no doubt to make him feel uncomfortable. Enjolras tried not to let it unnerve him.
‘I, as an agent of Darkness, accept the offered replacement of the angel Enjolras for the human Grantaire, and by my word and witness, Grantaire will no longer be enthralled to the Darkness now, for the rest of his earthly life or for any subsequent reincarnations…how’s that?’ he breathed silkily.
‘Fine’ said Enjolras, turning his head. ‘Now, if you’ll excuse me-‘
‘Oh but where do you think you’re going?’ said Montparnasse, wrapping a hand around one of Enjolras’s wrists. Enjolras tried not to flinch, Montparnasse’s touch did indeed burn.
‘I have some loose ends to tie up’ said Enjolras, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll come back’
‘I’ll let you have a while’ said Montparnasse, letting go of Enjolras’s wrist and waving his hand in a goodbye gesture, ‘It’s not every day you persuade an angel to fall is it?’
‘Oh Enjolras, no! How could you?’ cried Jehan as soon as he laid eyes on the returning Enjolras. ‘Do you realise what you’ve done?’
‘Yes’ replied Enjolras tersely, ‘How’s Grantaire been?’
‘Grantaire’s okay, he’s just been sleeping. But Enjolras can we talk about what’s happened?’
‘No we can’t’ said Enjolras floating down to look at Grantaire though his bedroom window. The young man was laid in bed, the covers tucked up to his chin. His breathing was steady, easy. He looked peaceful. Enjolras’s heart swelled. Grantaire would never had to be overwhelmed by the Darkness ever again.
‘Enjolras’ came warning voice to the side of him. Of course Jehan would know what had happened. He could read people like a book, prophesying or no prophesying.
‘NO!’ yelled the other angel, he was close to tears Enjolras noticed and he felt a twinge of guilt at the fact he was the cause for the other angel’s distress.
‘Shhhhhh’ he tried to quiet Jehan as he didn’t want Grantaire to wake up. He flew back up to the roof, followed by Jehan.
‘Enjolras no! You cannot do this!’
‘Yes I can’ Enjolras tried to explain ‘It’s my decision to make’
‘It’s the wrong decision!’ cried Jehan, and the tears were now flowing down his face. Enjolras hated it.
‘I did it for Grantaire!’ he exclaimed, trying to explain his justification.
Jehan sniffed noisily as he took a wet breath, ‘You didn’t have to agree to fall Enjolras! We could have worked something out, we could have protected Grantaire, we could have-‘
‘No we couldn’t’ve’ replied Enjolras, ‘If I hadn’t been there, he would have died Jehan. I can’t always be there, no matter how much I want to be’ and now Enjolras’s eyes were getting wet, ‘The Darkness wanted him so badly Jehan. Grantaire, he…he has this predisposition towards Darkness, he generates his own Darkness. It would have destroyed him at some point. I-I-I had too. Please-‘ he begged Jehan, ‘Please understand me. I have to do this…for him’
‘You would do this for him?’
‘Yes’ breathed Enjolras.
Jehan pulled Enjolras into a hug. Burying his head into the taller angel’s chest he sobbed and sobbed into Enjolras’s checked shirt; his jumper long forgotten in the earlier fight with Montparnasse in the park and the subsequent rush to Grantaire’s house and panic of finding the teenager in the most terrible of situations. Although unprecedented, Enjolras wrapped his arms around the smaller angel. ‘I’m sorry’ he said quietly, resting his chin on Jehan’s head.
‘No you’re not’ said Jehan, pulling away fractionally, ‘You’re not sorry at all. You are so deep in your own conviction, there’s nothing anyone could do to change your mind. You are not sorry at all.’
‘No’ sighed Enjolras, ‘I will always put Grantaire first. I have to. I….I love him’
‘I know you do’ sniffed Jehan.
‘I am sorry for making you upset though’ said Enjolras ‘And, whilst I have the time to say it, I am sorry for how I’ve treated you. You had your reasons for coming to earth and being a part of our revolution, and you had your reasons for leaving as well. I might not understand or like it. But I have to accept it.’
‘Thank you’ said Jehan in such a heartfelt manner that Enjolras was sorry that he’d held onto his anger at the other angel for so long. ‘And although I cannot like the decision you’ve made, I guess I have to accept it too.’
‘Thank you’ said Enjolras, and he meant it.
‘Will you look after Grantaire for me?’ he asked Jehan, ‘For, when…when I’m not here?’
‘Of course I will’ promised Jehan.
‘Make sure he has a good life, a happy life. The life he deserves’
‘He deserves to have a life with you’ Jehan pointed out but Enjolras shook his head replying: ‘Looks like it’s just not meant to be… not in the last life, or this one’.
‘When do you have to go?’
‘I have some time’ said Enjolras, rubbing at his wrist where a red mark had appeared from where Montparnasse had touched him. He surmised that when the pain became unbearable he was supposed to return. But he had some time yet.
‘I’ll leave you with him then’ said Jehan preparing to go. He paused, before saying, ‘You know Valjean is going to kill you’
‘Yes, but there’s nothing he can do about it. It was my decision and I’ve made it’
Jehan looked at him oddly for a long moment, so long in fact that Enjolras was just about to comment about it, but then Jehan suddenly snapped out of it and said ‘I’ll keep Valjean off your tail’
‘Really?’ asked Enjolras with a raised eyebrow.
‘Yes’ said Jehan, seeming to be in a brighter mood all of a sudden, ‘Farewell, Enjolras.’
And there was nothing more that Enjolras could say other than ‘Farewell Jehan’ as he watched the golden winged angel disappear into the night for the last time.
Enjolras climbed through Grantaire’s window, seemingly the only way he entered buildings this evening. He made his wings invisible and sat on the floor, leaning his back against Grantaire’s bed as he settled down to watch over his charge for the rest of this last night.
hope you liked this chapter as well, I appreciate every comment and kudos so much, thank you!
The next chapter is well under way, I hope to get it up at the weekend sometime so stick around or subscribe to be notified of when I next update,
see you soon!
Chapter 10: To hear that same voice that said 'hello say 'goodbye'
I knew exactly, I knew exactly what this would feel like
I knew this day was coming, I knew it right from the start
I could see it in your eyes, but I just didn't care
I knew the days were numbered, but I fell anyway
I knew exactly, I knew exactly what you would be to me
A scar on the horizon, a perfect dim illusory light
And I held it in my hands to protect it from the wind
But the more I held on, I knew I'd lose it again
You blew in like a breeze and rolled out like a storm
I know you didn't think it'd do any harm
I knew exactly, I knew exactly what this would feel like
To hear the same voice that said 'hello' say 'goodbye'
(Illusory Light, Sarah Blasko)
Grantaire awoke slowly from the best sleep he’d ever had. He was warm and cosy under the covers and so snuggled down a bit further to savour the awesome feeling of being in bed and having had a good sleep. He let out a little noise of contentment as he did so.
He dozed for a little while longer, wanting to hold onto this moment for as long as possible.
Eventually, however, he knew he’d have to open his eyes.
Blinking slowly, he did just that….
And was nearly scared to death as he saw someone sitting on the floor next to his bed.
‘Jesus Christ’ he swore, jumping in reflex. His eyes and brain were still too groggy and he blinked rapidly to focus on who it was.
It was Enjolras.
‘….er…er….’ Grantaire stuttered. Was he still dreaming? It’d be an awesome dream if so.
‘Good morning’ said Enjolras, turning his head to look at Grantaire. And the way the sun shone through his hair Grantaire would have sworn there and then Enjolras was a real life angel.
‘What the fuck?’ Grantaire said, partly outraged, partly confused.
Enjolras’s expression changed then from a smile to one of concern, ‘Grantaire,’ he began slowly, ‘What do you remember of last night?’
‘What?’ asked Grantaire, slightly panicked now, Enjolras tone was serious.
Oh good Lord…did he...did he come home with me?
‘Er….did you…did we…um…did you stay over last night?’ asked Grantaire, feverishly trying to think back to the last thing he remembered last night, but it was all drawing a blank at the moment.
‘Yes’ said Enjolras slowly, apparently confused himself, then something clicked, ‘Oh but no! No we didn’t, nothing happened….well, I mean, nothing happened between us….like intimate or anything-‘
‘Okay stop right there’ said Grantaire cutting Enjolras’s rambling off. Who the heck uses the word ‘intimate?
Enjolras, miraculously, closed his mouth. Grantaire was supremely confused. Enjolras was in his bedroom, swearing that nothing happened last night, but he was in Grantaire’s bedroom, sat on the floor, looking so cute, in his bedroom and Grantaire couldn’t remember anything from last night and Enjolras was in his fucking bedroom. Nothing made sense.
‘Why are you here?’ said Grantaire, his thoughts really disordered now.
‘I can explain’ said Enjolras, he was now kneeling facing Grantaire, ‘Just… give me your hand’
‘er…what?’ Grantaire was properly close to freaking out now. He wasn’t too bothered that Enjolras was here really, Enjolras made this situation of his dodgy memory infinitely better, but he’d still like to know what was going on thank you.
‘Hand Grantaire, now’ ordered Enjolras and, with some trepidation but also excitement, Grantaire stuck out his hand for Enjolras.
As soon as his own hands came into contact with Enjolras’s slim pale ones, everything came back to him. All in one go.
Enjolras held onto his hand throughout and somehow found the other one, so whilst Grantaire had to relive all of last night in a matter of seconds, Enjolras was there with him. It kept him anchored.
‘Oh God’ Grantaire panted.
‘It’s alright’ assured Enjolras, ‘It’s all fine, you’re fine, you’re safe now’
‘No it’s fucking not alright!’ cried Grantaire. He remembered now, the darkness surrounding him, being dragged down deeper and deeper. He remembered hearing Enjolras’s voice through the darkness, pulling him into consciousness. He remembered Enjolras talking him down from a panic attack.
‘Oh shit’ Grantaire looked at Enjolras, horrified, ‘I didn’t mean to, I would never, I- I-I’
‘It’s alright’ said Enjolras calmly, squeezing Grantaire’s hands a little as he did so, ‘I know you didn’t mean to, and it’s fine now.’
‘No it’s not!’
‘Yes Grantaire it is, believe me’ and Enjolras did what he had done last night and looked into Grantaire’s eyes, only this time he didn’t feel warm and fuzzy, now he felt warm and flushed. And Enjolras was still holding his hands. And he remembered Enjolras undressing him-
Grantaire blushed, ‘You stripped me!’ he accused.
Enjolras managed to look sheepish, ‘I had no choice!’ he protested.
‘Well, fine….I guess it had to be done’ said Grantaire embarrassed looking away, and pulling his hands from Enjolras’s.
He looked down at his wrists. They were perfectly fine. There were no marks, no blood, no indication of what he had done.
‘How?’ asked Grantaire puzzled. There should definitely be marks, big red, angry ones.
Enjolras took a long time to answer, he sighed before saying ‘I healed them, I healed you Grantaire. I’m not really supposed to do it, but it was an emergency, so yeah, I healed you.’
Grantaire just stared at Enjolras waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Enjolras stared back.
‘Wait. Hang on. No’ Grantaire shook his head disbelievingly, ‘No. No nonnononononononono, that’s not possible. What are you telling me? No, wait! I remember, I REMEMBER very clearly, me….I was covered in blood, my wrists were hurting. I should have died. Enjolras what’s going on?’
‘You hurt yourself Grantaire, very badly. I was lucky I found you. You were lying on the bathroom floor, covered in blood. I didn’t have a choice I had to save you.’
‘How, why?’ Grantaire couldn’t process things. ‘How did you get into my house?’
‘I…I materialised. I cheated. I’m sorry but you had locked the bathroom door, I couldn’t get in.’
Grantaire remembered locking the bathroom door. But he had no clue what Enjolras was saying.
‘Did you just say materialised? Like you said ‘healing’. Enjolras what the fuck is going on? Who are you?’
‘I—I- God why is this so hard?’ Enjolras looked up to the ceiling before meeting Grantaire’s eyes once again as he said ‘I’m an angel.’
Grantaire stared into Enjolras’s eyes as he said it. Enjolras was not lying. He wasn’t. Which meant he was telling the truth.
‘No’ he breathed, ‘That’s not possible, there’s no such thing.’
‘There is’ said Enjolras weakly, ‘You have to believe me Grantaire, I wouldn’t be telling you but I have to go soon and-‘
‘No, you can’t be’ repeated Grantaire again. But certain things were starting to click, certain things were starting to make sense, how he did always ‘appear’ out of nowhere, how he had somehow ‘healed’ Grantaire’s wrists, how he sometimes had that look in his eyes, of having seen the world, seen years and years, despite appearing so young.
Could it be true?
‘Wait hang on. You can’t be, angels, there’s no such thing….and what do you mean you have to go soon?’ asked Grantaire, ‘You haven’t explained anything, you can’t leave.’
‘I don’t really have a choice anymore Grantaire’ said Enjolras, he seemed sad.
‘Prove it’ said Grantaire aware that they were apparently running out of time, ‘Prove that you’re an angel.’
‘Fine’ said Enjolras, acquiescing. He stood up from where he’d been kneeling on the floor and moved to the middle of the room. And then, with a small look of concentration giant wings appeared behind his back.
Grantaire sagged back on his bed in amazement. Either he had already died and was now in heaven, or a piece of heaven was here on earth. He pulled the covers back and stood up, his legs were a little wobbly but he walked towards Enjolras. The blonde stood still, watching him warily as Grantaire approached.
‘Can I see?’ Grantaire whispered. Enjolras nodded in response.
Grantaire carefully, slowly, moved to Enjolras’s left side. The wing was in a relaxed state and stuck out probably as far as Enjolras’s arm would go, but his wingspan was obviously wider.
His wingspan. Oh my God.
His feathers were an off-white colour, all nestled together to form the wing. It arched fairly high, the structure revealing how strong of a wing it was. Grantaire moved behind Enjolras now, to see the two wings protruding from his back. His shirt appeared to have neat holes for the wings to go through, but Grantaire knew that when the wings were out of sight the shirt appeared whole, so there was something weird going on there. Enjolras’s wings looked in good condition, they were glossy and there was not a single one out of place. A couple of the feathers towards the bottom of his wings looked a little bashed, but seeing as they just skimmed the floor, that would explain it.
Grantaire was in awe. It was true. Enjolras really was an angel. With wings.
‘Can I touch?’ he asked gently.
Enjolras bristled a little, his feathers vibrating, ‘Um, no’ replied quietly, ‘No, they’re very…um…they’re very sensitive.’
‘Okay’ said Grantaire trying really hard not to sound disappointed. He moved back around to face Enjolras. ‘I believe you now’ he said.
‘Well I’d be worried if you didn’t’ said Enjolras wryly.
‘Oh my God’ breathed Grantaire quietly, ‘……Wait! Does that mean there’s a God?’
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ cried Grantaire, ‘Jesus Christ, if there’s a God…fucking hell…is there?’
Again Enjolras shrugged although this time it was accompanied with a head tilt.
‘What?’ said Grantaire, ‘Is there or not? Stop being so fucking cryptic!’, but all that did was make Enjolras smile even more ambiguously until Grantaire was smiling in response and he laughed.
‘Well, fine. I guess you can’t tell me that, I’ll just have to wait until I end up in heaven or hell I guess’
‘Grantaire look’ said Enjolras moving towards Grantaire now and gripping his shoulders he looked straight into Grantaire’s face, ‘I have to get going now, alright, but it’s all going to be okay, so don’t worry.’
Grantaire couldn’t take the full attention he was now receiving from Enjolras, angel Enjolras. He looked down at his feet.
‘Sorry’ he apologised.
‘What for?’ said Enjolras
‘For everything I guess. I’m really sorry you had to save me’
‘Grantaire, never be sorry for something that’s not in your control’ said Enjolras firmly, his grip on Grantaire’s arm tightening to emphasise what he was saying. ‘From now on your life is going to be much, much better.’
‘Huh I don’t think even you can promise that Enjolras’ said Grantaire, pulling himself from Enjolras’s grip and going back to his bed and sitting on the covers, ‘Angel powers or no angel powers’
Enjolras moved after Grantaire, but stopped in the middle of the room, looking unbelievable, a golden-haired young man with wings. ‘What if-‘ he started, but then hesitated, ‘What if I told you I had found a way to secure you’re happy future?’
‘Like my happy ending you mean?’ asked Grantaire with a grim smile. He didn’t believe in happy endings.
‘No, well, yes. A future where you weren’t plagued by such dark thoughts, where you weren’t controlled by the Darkness.’
‘Hang on, what do you mean? What is Darkness?’
‘I don’t have much time’ said Enjolras, rubbing hard at one of his wrists. ‘But Grantaire, before I go, I must tell you, I’ve found a way for the Darkness to leave you alone, forever. You can live your life now. It won’t be happy all the time, but it will be safe. I can promise you that.’
‘You can’t possibly promise something like that’ scoffed Grantaire, ‘Unless you can see the future or something?’ he asked genuinely curious.
‘I can’t, but some angels can. One of them, Jehan, he’s going to look out for you from now on, he’s very good, I think you’ll like him.’
‘Why can’t you look out for me?’ asked Grantaire, ‘Hey, is that what you’ve been doing here? Being like my guardian angel or something? Is that why you came to earth from heaven or wherever?’
‘Yeah and I’ve done such a great job!’ said Enjolras bitterly.
‘You have!’ protested Grantaire, he got up again and moved towards the angel. Fuck he was never going to get used to that.
‘Seriously Enjolras, you’ve saved my life, and I don’t just mean now, I mean like since the day I met you’ and oops this wasn’t meant to be a confession.
Enjolras just looked at him, tears welling in his eyes and it broke Grantaire’s heart to see him like that. He continued on, words tumbling out of him without control.
‘The day I met you…that was the best day of my life’ he said sincerely.
Enjolras screwed his eyes shut as he replied ‘It was the best day of my life...my existence…too’ he whispered. And Grantaire’s heart swelled at his words, did that mean, did Enjolras feel the same way? The words were on Grantaire’s tongue, he was opening his mouth to say it-
‘Grantaire! You will be safe and happy until the rest of your days, I promise!’ cried Enjolras. But he turned around and strode over to the window and was on the ledge pushing open the pane before Grantaire could register what was going on.
‘Wait!’ he cried in response.
‘I have to go’ said Enjolras brokenly, ‘Be well R’ and then he was gone.
Grantaire ran over to the open window, but Enjolras was nowhere to be seen. Could angels teleport? Where was he?
‘Enjolras!’ he yelled, ‘Enjolras come back!’
But he was met with only silence and the blood-red sky of dawn.
Grantaire spun around, throwing his hands up over his head, hands clenching into fists. Oh God oh God oh God…..
He tried not to panic, but he could feel it building up within him, his chest was getting tight….oh God oh God, oh God.
Turning back to the window he slammed his hands down on the ledge and shouted ‘ENJOLRAS!’
Come back, come back, come back.
He sank to his knees and collapsed over the ledge, his arms dangling down below. Tears were threatening to spill and his breathing was rapidly speeding up.
‘En…En-jolras’ he gasped.
‘He’s not here Grantaire’ came a voice from above him, from the rooftop. It was a soft voice, lightly spoken and Grantaire looked up, out of the window as a young man descended in front of him, a young man with golden wings.
‘Er’ gulped Grantaire, ‘Who…who the hell are you?’
‘My name is Jehan,’ replied the young man. He was dressed in pale colours and his blonde hair was in a braid. ‘Enjolras might have mentioned me, you are now under my charge’
‘Enjolras?’ asked Grantaire desperately ‘Do you know where he is?’
Jehan, still floating in front of his upstairs bedroom window, shook his head, ‘I don’t know where he is, but I know where he will be…can I come in?’ he asked politely with a tilt of his head.
‘Um, yeah of course’ said Grantaire backing away to give room to the young-looking angel who clambered gracefully into his room.
Great. So in the space of half an hour Grantaire had had two angels in his bedroom. Was he going to wake up anytime soon?
‘Um, would you like anything?’ he asked hesitantly. Jehan was looking around his room with interest, but he shook his head again and said no.
‘So…er…what are you doing here? And where’s Enjolras gone?’
Jehan sighed softly, ‘I am here because I made a promise to Enjolras to look after you once he was gone…’
‘And that is where?’ said Grantaire, he had a feeling Jehan was quite a vague, wispy sort of person.
‘….Hell probably’ sighed Jehan as calmly as if he was discussing the weather.
‘Hell!’ cried Grantaire, horrified.
‘Mmmmhmmm’ replied Jehan.
‘Jesus Christ’ swore Grantaire, to which Jehan tutted at, ‘oh, um, sorry… why the hell would he be in…hell?’
‘Because Enjolras thinks that the only way to save you is to trade your soul for his’ said Jehan.
His hands came up and tugged at his braid. Grantaire could see, now, with the light in the room, that his hair was the same colour as his wings. They weren’t as wide or as long an Enjolras’s, but they gleamed a beautiful, warm gold colour, and seemed to shimmer a little as the feathers rustled. This angel gave off quite a different aura to Enjolras. Enjolras was fierce and passionate, whereas Jehan was calmer and quieter, yet Grantaire could detect some steel below the fair exterior, Jehan was not to be messed with, he carried some serious power.
It was funny how Grantaire could sense all of that now. Was he more open to it because he knew what these guys were, or was it because he just felt a lot lighter in general? Since he’d woken up, he’d felt so much better in himself, he felt like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders and from his chest. Was it because of Enjolras? Was it because of how he’d healed him? Saved him from the Darkness, whatever the Darkness was.
Grantaire was struggling to take in what the young man in front pf him had just said. ‘Trade my what?’
‘Your soul. The Darkness wanted it, they nearly had it last night, until Enjolras saved you. But that wasn’t enough for him, he wanted to free you from their clutches forever…so he made a deal.’
‘What deal? What is the Darkness?’ Grantaire was really confused now, but from Jehan’s tone he could tell it was serious, whatever Enjolras had done, it was pretty major.
‘Enjolras agreed to fall in return for the Darkness leaving you alone for the rest of your life. The Darkness is…the Darkness are our opposites.’ Jehan explained, ‘We angels are agents of Light, we come to Earth to persuade humans to make positive choices to improve their lives, however, the Darkness comes among you as well, it’s that niggling voice, telling you to give in to your fears, your addictions, it plays on your weaknesses, it corrupts and destroys’
‘Well fuck’ said Grantaire.
Jehan tsked, ‘Language, Grantaire, language’
‘Sorry, but that, well that sucks’ said Grantaire.
‘Mmmmhmmm’ nodded Jehan sagely.
‘So, when Enjolras said that it was the Darkness controlling me, making me nearly….um…end it…that’s what he meant? That it was the Darkness driving me to do that?’
‘Yes’ nodded Jehan again, ‘Exactly, the Darkness has been controlling your inner thoughts and feelings for a very long time Grantaire. That’s why you always felt as if you were worthless, or nothing and that’s what led you down a dark path of making the wrong choices.’
Grantaire just stared at Jehan as what the angel had just said sank in. He knew it was true. Now he could distance himself from the negative feelings he could see them for what they were…corrosive and destructive. He had felt like literal shit, he’d thought his life wasn’t worth living! His eyes widened in horror, it was so clear to see now! He had been manipulated, how….how could that have happened?
Jehan answered his unspoken question, ‘You’ve been surrounded by negative vibes all your life Grantaire, and you seem to be quite susceptible to the Darkness anyway, but in all likelihood it was Montparnasse that caused the Darkness to take root within you.’
‘Parnasse?’ whispered Grantaire in dismay, his thoughts flashed back to when he’d first me the guy and over the years he’d since known him. In retrospect he could feel the slimy, disgusting presence, how had he not noticed at the time?
‘Yes, Montparnasse is somewhat unique. He was an angel once, but was corrupted by the Darkness, or perhaps he went freely, I do not know. Either way, he fell from heaven and became an agent of Darkness. He is their most effective weapon.’
‘But, you said…you said Enjolras made some sort of deal…that he fell? Did he…Oh God, did he fall from heaven too?’
‘He made a deal with Montparnasse to save you’ affirmed Jehan, ‘He agreed to fall as well’
‘No!’ Grantaire exclaimed, ‘No he can’t…he can’t! He mustn’t! Not for me! I’m not worth it! Where is he? I have to stop him!’ Grantaire moved towards the door as if to leave, even though he didn’t know where Enjolras was or how to get to him.
‘You can’t Grantaire’ said Jehan putting his hands up to stop Grantaire, ‘It was his choice, freely made, for you’
‘I told you I’m not worth it!’ shouted Grantaire, ‘Now where is he? Tell me where he is!’
‘TELL ME WHERE HE IS OR SO HELP ME’ Grantaire yelled at the other angel, his hands were clenched into fists and he felt on fire, blood pumping through his veins.
Jehan took a step back in caution, his expression slightly fearful. But then he stopped. His eyes went out of focus slightly before fluttering closed. A slow smile spread over his face. To Grantaire, he looked quite mad.
‘Ah’ he said softly, ‘It falls into place’
‘What the fuck are you talking about?’ growled Grantaire, at the end of his tether.
‘I can see it now’ said Jehan, his eyes opened and he stared at Grantaire, ‘Yes I can see it now. I know what must happen’
‘What must happen, what the fuck is going on…are you high?’ asked Grantaire suspiciously.
‘Grantaire, I know where Enjolras is and I know how you can save him’ said Jehan with a smile.
Well now he changes his tune.
‘Save him, how?’
‘Come with me’ said Jehan and he grasped Grantaire’s right arm and the two of them dematerialised.
It's been a while, here is the next chapter! Only two more chapters to go, enjoy!
All your comments and kudos have meant so much, so thank you,
Chapter 11: I am undone
So, all of yesterday I was at work thinking, must upload this chapter, must upload this chapter. Then, as soon as I got home I completely forgot! There I was feeling so pleased with myself for writing this chapter a week ago and thinking, now I can have weekly uploads alternating with Quant and Qual. ahhh face palm.
Anyway! here is this week's update, warning, it gets quite dark.
Also, if you're reading this I'm really keen to know what you think, do you like this fic? Do you not like this fic? Do you have any sort of reaction? Or no reaction at all?
I'm seriously inviting any sort of comment, constructive criticism is very much welcome, I'm always trying to improve and develop my writing.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Here's my body, I am undone
Let them have me, let them come
Blue beaks aching, flesh forsake me
Holy bones for the hunter's gun
(Undone, Undress, Marika Hackman)
Enjolras barely remembered travelling to Montparnasse’s apartment, Grantaire’s cries were echoing around his head, his young, vulnerable face seared into Enjolras’s mind.
He scarcely remembered Montparnasse taking his wrist, now searing in pain, a flaming band of red encircling it, and dragging him down into a whirlpool of Darkness.
Enjolras felt like he was being suffocated, the Darkness was tight around him, forcing the air from his lungs. He didn’t know how long it lasted, the sensation of being dragged further and further, tighter and tighter, warmer and warmer. There was no point keeping his eyes open, he couldn’t see anything anyway. Instead he focused on Grantaire, that was the reason he was here. To save Grantaire.
He must not forget that.
Then suddenly he felt the sensation of falling, before he landed heavily onto hard ground. His knees gave way under him and he crumpled to the floor. It was hard, compacted dirt, warm to the touch.
‘Fuck’ swore Montparnasse as he was almost dragged to the floor by Enjolras’s limp weight. He let go of Enjolras’s wrist and Enjolras could hear Montparnasse’s wings rustling as the Dark angel looked around where they were.
They were in what seemed like a room. The dirt floor extending around them until it reached the bottom dark walls. Enjolras looked up, there was very little to see, what light there was seemed to be coming from above him, but it wasn’t very bright and so most of the room was shrouded in darkness. He could just make out a door in one of the walls. It was metal and looked heavy.
Montparnasse caught where he was looking and said ‘Don’t get any ideas of escaping. You agreed to this remember? You agreed to fall, now you have to face the consequences’
‘Which are?’ asked Enjolras warily sitting up, he had no plans to escape. He knew this was a death sentence, he knew there was no way out for him. This was the price to pay for Grantaire’s freedom and happiness, and he would pay it a thousand times over.
‘You may be down here’ said Montparnasse, ‘But you haven’t fallen, not yet.’
Enjolras just looked at him, puzzled.
‘Look at yourself’ snarled Montparnasse, ‘There’s no light down here Enjolras, you’re the one making the light, you’re glowing’
Enjolras looked at his hands and turned his head to look at his wings. It was true. He was the light source in the room, in contrast, Montparnasse gave off nothing. He was only illuminated by the light emanating from Enjolras.
‘It’s disgusting’ said Montparnasse pulling a face.
‘Well I don’t know how I can stop that’ said Enjolras in response. He felt very odd, he could no longer feel his Light energy within him, the vibes were usually there in the background pulsing and shifting and he was always conscious of them. But now, now he could feel nothing. The vibes must have been stripped from him on entering this place, leaving him unable to generate any more. Light energy. The Light emanating from him must just be residual Light on account that he was an angel. It was a weird sensation, it reminded Enjolras of when he used to be human. Unable to consciously feel energy waves Dark or Light. He felt weak, but he guessed that was how he was supposed to feel.
But just then the walls of the room seemed to move, the blackness swirling around and a hissing sounded all around them.
‘Sssstop wassstingg time Montparnasssssssse, prepare him’
Enjolras shivered, the sound went right through him.
‘Alright, alright!’ cried Montparnasse in annoyance and he moved towards Enjolras, grabbing him roughly and with surprising strength, hauled him to his feet and pushed him backwards until his back and slammed up against a column in the centre of the room. Enjolras’s wings flared out instinctively, causing the room to blaze in light. Montparnasse slapped him.
‘Stop it’ he commanded. Enjolras’s cheek burned.
Montparnasse then took both of Enjolras’s wrists, pulled them upwards and fastened them to manacles with chains embedded in the column. The metal was harsh and hot against Enjolras’s skin, he knew it was only a matter of time before the shackles began to burn through his flesh. Everything down here seemed to be a poison.
‘What’s going to happen?’ he asked Montparnasse, his mouth going dry ‘What was that sound earlier?’
‘That,’ said Montparnasse checking to make sure the manacles were fastened tightly, ‘Was the Darkness, I’d introduce you but you’ll know them soon enough. To fall, Enjolras, you have to let the Darkness in, you have to become Darkness.’
‘Is that what you did?’ Enjolras asked, searching Montparnasse’s face for answers. But the Dark angel just bent down and began to shackle his ankles to the column as well. Enjolras’s stomach was beginning to flutter, the first hints of fear creeping in. What did he mean let the Darkness in?
‘Yes’ replied Montparnasse, not looking at him, just focusing on tightening the metal chains around Enjolras’s ankles. He proceeded to remove Enjolras’s shoes and socks and left them arranged neatly against the wall to Enjolras’s right. ‘But I didn’t have anyone to explain it to me, so count yourself lucky that it’s me who gets to do it.’
‘What do you mean?’ asked Enjolras, trying to get closer to Montparnasse by leaning as far forward as he could, but coming up shot because his arms and feet were constrained.
‘Just submit to them Enjolras, just let them in okay? It’s much easier if you don’t fight.’
‘But what does that mean? What are you saying?’ Enjolras was definitely feeling fearful now, ‘What does letting them in mean?’ and then a pause, ‘Montparnasse, did you fight them?’
Montparnasse just looked at him sadly, before backing away, out of the pool of light Enjolras was producing.
Enjolras strained forward, trying to see the Dark angel. But he was just out of the line of sight. The walls moved again, morphing into dark shapes and then back again. That voice returned, it was talking but Enjolras couldn’t make out the words. He could hear Montparnasse’s reply though.
‘Please can’t you just let me do it?’
Enjolras couldn’t hear the response, but Montparnasse said ‘Please, I can do it, I know I can, it would be better if I did it’
The hissing voice suddenly became angry, the darkness churning around the room flashed with streaks of red, Enjolras could then just make out Montparnasse, he was kneeling on the floor and the darkness was swirling around him.
‘Please, please, please, no, please don’t, I….please’ Montparnasse was sobbing. Enjolras stared in shock. He could see the Darkness creeping around Montparnasse’s neck, a dark cloud coiling around him. Then suddenly he was completely enveloped by the Darkness and he collapsed to the floor.
‘Montparnasse?’ asked Enjolras cautiously. He pulled on the chains, but they didn’t give, in any way.
Then, Montparnasse’s body was slowly but jerkily moving. The Dark angel stood up and stretched, before sighing, ‘Ahhhh, yesssss, it is nice to have a form’
It was Montparnasse’s voice but not Montparnasse’s accent, the intonation was completely different. He advanced towards Enjolras and as his body was thrown into the light, Enjolras gasped in horror.
Montparnasse’s eyes were completely black, dark and shiny and black.
This was not Montparnasse. This was the Darkness in Montparnasse’s body.
It grinned evilly.
Enjolras felt sick, he felt repulsed by the thing approaching him, but it was coming closer and closer and then it was invading his personal space, it’s face now only inches from Enjolras’s.
It breathed out and Enjolras nearly gagged, the smell was atrocious.
‘Enjolllllrassssssss’ it hissed in pleasure, ‘What a prizzzzzzzze, we finally get to meet you, it’ssssss a pleassssurrrre’
‘Can’t say the same’ said Enjolras, struggling to breath with the smell of rot entering his lungs and throat.
‘Ooooh look at you’ crooned the Darkness, ‘What a spirit you have, you will be such an assssett to ussss’
‘I’m here because of Grantaire’ said Enjolras as boldly as he could manage, ‘You agreed to leave him alone I exchange for me’
‘We did’ nodded the Darkness, ‘You are the greater prizzzzze by far’ it laughed gleefully. ‘Oh we are going to enjoy thissssss’
‘What are you going to do?’ asked Enjolras.
‘Dear boy, sweet, sweet boy,’ said the Darkness, ‘We are going to make you fall’ and with that it ran a finger down Enjolras’s cheek. The pain was white hot, searing his skin, he screamed and everything went black.
Enjolras awoke slowly.
He could hear his own breathing it was dry and raspy. The warmth was drying him out.
In contrast, something wet and sticky was in the corner of his eye as he struggled to open his eyelid to see his surroundings.
It all came back to him in a flash and he drew in a shuddering gasp.
He was still suspended from the column, with his arms above his head and the metal manacles digging and burning into his skin.
The room was the same as before, dirt floor, dark walls. Only now they seemed more oppressive, closing in.
Enjolras could only open one eye and he stared at his feet, trying to make sense of what had happened.
Grantaire’s face flashed before him and he gritted his teeth before lifting his head up to stare at the Darkness using Montparnasse’s body.
‘You know’ said the Darkness, who was lounging in a fancy armchair a few feet in front of Enjolras, ‘It’s not going to be much fun if you passsssss out every time I touch you’
Enjolras didn’t know what to say. He stared at the Dark angel with his one good eye.
‘You know eventually you’ll have to ssssssubmit to ussssssss’ said the Darkness, ‘But, in the meantime…’ and now it was looking Enjolras up and down like he was something on the menu ‘We will have to do something about that Light’ and the way it said the word ‘light’ was like something it had to peel off the underneath of its shoe.
Enjolras opened his mouth to speak, but the Darkness moved suddenly in the blink of an eye and it’s face was so close to Enjolras’s again.
‘Oh no no no no no, I don’t want anything but screams to come from that mouth of yours, dearest Enjolrassssss’ it said in a sickeningly sweet tone.
And then there was a flash of metallic and a sharp sting as the Darkness sliced a cut over Enjolras’s right brow. And now he knew what was sticking his eyelid shut. Enjolras took in a shaky breath.
‘You have ssssssuch a pretty face’ said the Darkness, before slashing again, this time along Enjolras’s jawline. The line where the Darkness had stroked his cheek was still burning, now the whole right side of Enjolras’s face was throbbing with pain.
‘We can’t bleed’ said the Darkness, tilting its head to appraise its handiwork, ‘But we do so love blood’ it laughed, high pitched and jarring.
Enjolras closed his one good eye, as the Darkness proceeded to cut and nick available patches of skin. At one point it ripped off his shirt with claws and left thin stinging lines across his chest and torso with its knife.
The cuts weren’t deep but they stung, each one causing Enjolras to hiss in pain. Every sound that fell from his lips seemed to make the Darkness happier and happier and soon it was crooning a song and it continued to slice and scratch.
Enjolras tried to focus on Grantaire, tried to think of why he was doing this, why he was going through this. It was so Grantaire would never experience this, would never have to suffer at the hands of the Darkness.
He couldn’t say how long the cutting lasted. But at some point the Darkness dropped the knife and it fell to the floor with a clatter. It moved in close, and ran its hands lightly across Enjolras’s chest causing the cuts to flare with pain as it gently smeared the blood across Enjolras’s skin.
‘Ssssseeee?’ it said in a joyful tone, ‘You are still with ussssssss, soon you’ll let ussss in’
‘What?’ mumbled Enjolras.
‘Hushhhh dearessst Enjollllraasssss, let usss decorate your body’ and with that the Darkness pressed harder, running its hands down Enjolras’s torso causing the cuts to open wider and deeper and blood to spill out. Enjolras’s skin felt like it was on fire, the pain from the cuts and the burning sensation from the Darkness’s touch combined made him keen out loud.
‘Ssssuch sweet sweet soundsssss’ cried the Darkness delighted that Enjolras was responding that way. It dug it’s claws deep into Enjolras’s abdomen, and Enjolras screamed again, his vision going black.
‘Enjolllll-rassss, Enjollll-rassssss’ the harsh voice was crooning his name, fingers were lifting his chin up, a hand was slapping his face repeatedly trying to get him to come round. Enjolras coughed, his chest heaving as he threw up a globule of blood.
‘Ooooh, you may have some internal bleeding there’ said the Darkness in a casual tone.
Enjolras just tried to concentrate on his breathing, he couldn’t be sure there wasn’t blood in his lungs as well. He spluttered a bit more before his breathing evened out. The walls in the room had encroached even more now. He was starting to feel encircled and trapped. He had to focus on Grantaire. Grantaire was why he was doing this, why he was going through this.
Things seemed to be repeating themselves. The Darkness was twirling its knife between its fingers, contemplating Enjolras before him.
‘Nah’ it said suddenly, throwing the knife over its shoulder where it disappeared into a cloud of Darkness before it hit the floor. ‘Let’s try something else’ it said and a large hammer materialised between its hands. It gripped the handle hard as it swung and slammed it into Enjolras’s left knee. Enjolras heard as well as felt the bone shatter. He shouted in absolute agony, slumping to the side but unable to fall because of the chains hanging him from the ceiling.
‘That wasss fun’ said the Darkness, grinning manically and it repeated the action on Enjolras’s other leg.
Enjolras screamed again, the pain making him take short, shuddering breaths as on every exhale he cried out in suffering.
Tears were running down his cheeks, even escaping from his sealed eye and watering down the congealed blood enough that his other eyelid could open. His head had dropped and all he could see were his feet, unable to support him because of his shattered kneecaps.
The pain was intense, Enjolras had never experienced anything like it. Even in death he had felt no pain, the eight bullets ended his life in an instant. But his death had meant something, it had been for a cause, this was just suffering because someone wanted him to feel pain.
But that was wrong, he did have a cause!
He was doing this for Grantaire. How could he forget? He would lay down his life for Grantaire, without question.
But it was an awful lot easier to say he’d die for Grantaire the way he’d died for the French revolution.
This was not dying, this was suffering. Enjolras had to focus, Grantaire, was his cause here. He was going through this for Grantaire.
Enjolras’s cries of pain became sobs. The pain had not subsided, not in anyway, but he shut it out as best he could and focused on Grantaire.
But it was hard to do when the Darkness was cradling his head in its hands and stroking his cheeks as it spoke ‘Now, now Enjollllrassss’ it seemed to love saying his name ‘It’s alright, hush dearest, hush. I’ll make you new legs, I’ll make you new skin. I have far more power than Light. I can make you even more beautiful. You will be the temptation that brings others too me’
Enjolras sobbed wetly, not looking at the Darkness.
He hardly noticed that his hands had been released from the chains holding him up. A coil of Dark smoke had corroded the metal breaking it apart with a clang. His arms were smoothly brought down by the Darkness, his muscles were screaming at being so abused.
His feet were also released and he sagged into the Darkness’s arms as the Darkness sank to the floor with him in its embrace.
‘Let’sss get you more comfortable’ hummed the Darkness and the walls shifted around them until they were both on a mound of soft cushions. The Darkness manoeuvred Enjolras so that he was lying across the Darkness’s lap, not unlike how Grantaire had lain across Enjolras’s legs all that time ago.
How much time had passed? It seemed like eons. Grantaire was living his life now, and living it to the full. Enjolras hoped he was okay.
‘I will make you new’ the Darkness was saying, ‘I will transssssform you’ and its fingers stroked across one of Enjolras’s wings. Enjolras shuddered, his wings were very sensitive. The feathers bristled at the touch.
Then suddenly the Darkness grabbed one and pulled it out. Enjolras flinched hard causing pain to spasm across his body, particularly his legs. He moaned in pain.
Enjolras looked up, the Darkness was twirling the feather around and around, inspecting it.
‘You need to take better care of yoursssself’ it chastisted before tossing the feather away. Enjolras watched it flutter to the ground, mesmerised. But then the Darkness plucked another one from his wings. Enjolras glanced back up at him in horror.
No, no no no not this!
He tried to struggle but every movement caused sharp stabbing pains in his legs. His arms were heavy and shrieked in protest as he tried to move them, to protest at what was happening.
The Darkness shushed him once more, it stroked down his blood smeared chest causing Enjolras’s spine to arch, once more resulting in shooting pains down his legs. He was immobilised, he couldn’t move.
‘Ahhhh sssso you finally, begin to resisssssst me’ chimed the Darkness. ‘Even though you chossssse this, agreed to this, to save poor, little Grantaire’
‘I….I please I…..don’t hurt him’ begged Enjolras, his voice was almost non-existent, made hoarse from screaming.
‘I won’t’ smiled the Darkness, ‘I made a promissssse to get you’ he trailed his fingers over and over Enjolras’s chest, pressing into the cuts, drawing more blood.
‘But I can’t have you fighting me Enjolrassssss, you conssssented to thissss, if you change your mind, what’s to ssssstop me from changing mine?’ it asked in such an innocent sounding voice, but the threat was clearly there. Enjolras squeezed his eyes shut and tried to control his breathing, although it was difficult with fingers pressing down, no into, his chest.
He had to go through with this. It was his decision. He opened his eyes and looked back up at the Darkness, ‘I agreed’ he whispered.
The Darkness purred ‘Goood’ it said and went back to plucking the feather’s from Enjolras’s wing.
Enjolras lay there, staring ahead as he watched feather after feather flutter down around him. Every time one was pulled out it still made him flinch and twitch but he was in sort of a haze now, he couldn’t see things very clearly. The blackness around the two of them was very thick.
‘Your light issss dimming’ the Darkness pointed out happily as it continued his work of pulling out off-white feathers. It was right, the feathers tumbling down onto the floor around them weren’t luminescent anymore, they were dull and rather pathetic looking. At some point the Darkness switched to Enjolras’s other wing and began to work there. Starting at the tip with the largest feathers and working his way inward to the small fluffy ones on the very tops of the wingbone.
Enjolras had no idea how long he lay there, listening to the low humming of the Darkness, he could barely see his hands laid across the cushions now.
‘Oh Enjolrasss, look at you’ cooed the Darkness, turning away from Enjolras’s mostly stripped wing. It pulled Enjolras’s body off its lap and laid him down surprisingly gently so his head was resting on a cushion. Enjolras’s ruined wings were spread out, limp on the soft pile as well. The Darkness then lay down next to Enjolras and propped its head up on one arm. It ran the other one down Enjolras’s chest again, it seemed to like that.
‘You are going to be everyone’s downfall’ it whispered, looking him up and down. Enjolras just stared ahead into the blackness, he could barely make out the Darkness’s face now, his thoughts were thick and fuzzy and he was desperately trying to keep Grantaire’s face in his mind.
But then something wet was sliding up his face.
He twitched in alarm, his body weakly protesting. Pain jarred though him and he tried to remain still once more.
‘You taste deliciousssss’ murmured the Darkness for it had just licked his face in one long stroke.
It then proceeded to press wet, open mouthed kisses to the side of his face.
Enjolras trembled. This was something else. He hadn’t thought there could be worse humiliation and pain than the drawn out procedure of having his wings plucked. But he’d been wrong. Of course the Darkness was going to ruin him this way as well.
The kisses were intense, the Darkness kept them pressed to his skin ling enough for the sensation of burning to increase but then it would suddenly withdraw and breathe a cool breath over the wetness, leaving the area throbbing with the sensation of fire and ice.
‘I can’t believe you’ve never been touched’ said the Darkness is disbelief. ‘You beautiful thing that you are’ the hand on his chest started to drop lower and lower until fingers were skilfully undoing the belt and zipper that held his trousers in place.
Enjolras squeezed his eyes shut. ‘Oh you don’t like thisssss do you?’ said the Darkness, ‘Oh but you will, you will learn to love it’ it said voice dripping with enticement.
Fingers crept under his clothes, under the trousers and underwear until long fingers were lightly threading through pubic hair, edging closer and closer.
‘Please’ whispered Enjolras.
‘Please what my darling?’ asked the Darkness, leaning in closer to hear Enjolras’s weak voice.
‘Please’ Enjolras repeated, his voice almost non-existant. He scrunched his eyes up and grimaced as the Darkness’s fingers reached the base of his penis.
‘Oh Enjolllrassss, one day you’ll come to me to seek pleasure, to seek the release only I can give you.’
Enjolras kept his eyes tight shut and shook his head from side to side, tears were leaking out from under his eyelids.
The Darkness let out a huff of annoyance, the warm air blew across Enjolras’s face making the cuts and kisses sting even more.
‘Would you rather I did this to Grantaire?’ asked the Darkness, its tone laced with threat.
Enjolras stilled, his eyes flickered open but he could barely see a thing; his light was so low.
‘No’ he said, but no sound came out.
‘What was that?’ said the Darkness with a smirk, ‘I can’t quite hear you’
‘No!’ Enjolras managed to force out a croak. It resulted in his chest heaving as he tried to cough but it was so painful it left him convulsing with tremors. The Darkness just held him throughout, whispering dark, sweet nothings into his ear.
‘It’s nearly over Enjollllrasssss’ it said sweetly, ‘just this one lassst thing, then you won’t feel pain again, you’ll only feel powerrrr.’
It brushed back Enjolras’s hair from his face, caressing his cheek and kissing his closed eyelids. Then once again its hand moved down his body, down, down to between his legs. This time there was no slow, dancing around. Instead a firm hand gripped his limp cock and started stroking hard.
Enjolras whimpered, but the Darkness shushed him and began kissing his face once more.
Suddenly, the whole room shook. Enjolras was almost too weak, too far gone to notice.
But then the room shook again. The Darkness stilled its fingers from around Enjolras’s cock but didn’t release him. It lifted its face from where it had been pressed against Enjolras’s and looked around. It frowned.
The room shook for another time, the floor jolting so much that Enjolras began to slip down some of the dislodged cushions. The Darkness used its free hand to grasp Enjolras’s shoulder hard, keeping him where he was. Enjolras could barely see a thing as his eyes struggled to open. Pain was flaring in his legs again, he moaned weakly.
But then the surrounding blackness began to shift around them. Streaks of red flashing across the blackness like lightning.
This time when the room shook, it didn’t stop shaking. The floor was vibrating hard and the black was pulsating.
‘No’ exclaimed the Darkness, ‘No, no no!’
A beam of brilliant white light burned through the inky blackness, separating it in two. The Darkness released its hand from between Enjolras’s legs and instead wrapped its arms around Enjolras’s shoulders in a suffocating embrace, hauling him backwards away from the beam of light.
Enjolras’s eyes couldn’t take it. He’d been acclimatised to the dimness, the light was just too bright. His mind was still blank; he could only react.
The Darkness was shrieking now, Enjolras could feel warm wind whipping past his face as the Darkness attempted to shroud them both in its tendrils.
But, miraculously, over the sound of the wind in his ears and the noises emanating from the Darkness, Enjolras heard his name being called.
‘Enjolras!’ And there it was again. Enjolras tried to open his eyes to see who it was, but the light was too bright.
‘Enjolras!’ and it was louder now, he could almost recognise the voice.
‘No!’ screamed the Darkness, it pulled Enjolras closer to its body, an arm coming around his neck.
He knew that voice.
He knew who that voice belonged to, it was seared into his memory, he would never forget it.
‘Grantaire?’ he whispered as a hand suddenly clutched his.
The last chapter of this fic will *promises* be uploaded in two week's time.
see you then!
Chapter 12: Now I've Got Freedom
Apologies this is a couple of days late....
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
I was broken, I was blind
Lost in a moment I thought I left behind
Then you woke up this dark soul of mine
Carrying a light I thought I'd never find
When you found me, I was all alone
The whole world around me, but nowhere to call home
I heard your voice sing like heaven's choir
Gathered up my fears and threw them in the fire
Oh, my darling, sweet love of mine
I'll hold you all through the night
I gave you your name; you gave me back my life
You're the heart of me, oh, sweet love of mine
You're the heart of me, oh, sweet love of mine
(Sweet love of mine, Joy Williams)
I’ve got something to tell you
And I didn't want lie
But this is not a bitter goodbye
there are no tears left to dry
Now I've got freedom
(I’ve got freedom, Lily & Madeleine, *acoustic version)
Grantaire could hardly see anything, the Light was so bright. Not only that, there was a strong, hot windstorm trying to blow him backwards. It almost threw him off balance. He threw his hands up in front of his face to try to shield himself from both the Light and the ferocious gale trying to force him away. He concentrated on putting one foot in front of another. The ground was packed earth beneath the soles of his shoes.
He’s got to be here somewhere. Just a little bit further. Keep going.
‘Enjolras!’ he called out, but the words were whipped from his mouth by the wind. It stole his breath away.
He tried again: ‘Enjolras!’ he managed it a little louder this time. He continued to press onwards.
He still couldn’t see anything. It was all whited out with the power of the Light emanating from behind him. It urged him onwards, small vibes of Light energy pushing him forwards despite the howling wind.
‘Enjolras!’ he yelled, louder this time, more urgent.
Where is he? Enjolras please be here, please be okay!
The wind now became a duststorm, flecks of red soil were all around him. He was forced to close his eyes. He could feel it whipping past his cheeks, the dust scratched and rubbed at his skin like sandpaper. He gritted his teeth and concentrated.
He could feel the Darkness up ahead, even with the strong beams of Light energy surrounding him he could sense where it was congealing, a tight, Dark mass of energy. He didn’t need to see where he was going to know which direction he needed to go. One foot in front of another.
With his eyes still closed he could also hear something now. A high voice shrieking. As he advanced it got clearer.
‘No, no no no!’ the voice was pitchy and went right through him. It caused goosebumps to form all the way along his arms, he shivered at the sensation, but he didn’t stop.
One foot in front of another.
Enjolras where are you?
Then, the wind was lessening and he dared to open his eyes. He could make out something shifting in the Darkness in front of him. It couldn’t be less than twenty metres away. He tried to speed up, but his legs felt like they were wading through sludge.
Grantaire looked down, tendrils of Dark energy were twining around his legs, slowing his progress.
You can’t stop me he thought, forcing his muscles to keep moving.
‘Enjolras!’ he cried out, desperately hoping with all his being that the blond angel was somewhere up ahead. Somewhere in the Darkness.
But then he found he couldn’t move at all. Dark energy vibes were twisting, coiling around his body. The Light surrounding him was trying it’s best to corrode the tendrils but more and more kept emerging to surround him.
He started struggling fiercely, his body twisting, trying to free himself from the grasp of the Darkness.
The dust was settling around him; the wind having subsided. Grantaire flicked his head up to look ahead. His eyes strained to make out what was in front of him. Despite the bright Light piercing the room it seemed unable to penetrate much farther than where Grantaire was struggling, now immobilised. The walls were black, the floor scorched earth, and both faded into complete and utter Darkness.
The Dark energy was trying to hide something from view. And the current Light coming from behind him wasn’t enough.
He needed more Light.
‘Need...more….Light,’ he panted, breathless from struggling against the Dark energy.
But no more Light came.
Grantaire continued to resist the Dark energy threatening to engulf him. There was no more Light. He was on his own. He couldn’t do this.
Yes you can.
Believe in yourself.
Grantaire stilled. He took a shuddering breath.
Believe in yourself.
He closed his eyes and searched deep within him for that belief, that positive spark. It was difficult to find, difficult to grasp, to hold on to. He thought of why he was here, why he was doing this, of Enjolras. Enjolras had believed in him.
The tall, blond young man appeared in front of his eyes, wrapped up in a scarf, nose red from the cold and face smiling at something Grantaire had said. His heart hurt and tears welled up behind his eyelids…Enjolras.
Enjolras had believed in him. He could do this. He could believe in himself.
It was more than enough.
At that moment, more Light flooded out not from behind him, but from him this time. He was the one generating the Light energy. Like a wave it poured out of him, dissolving the dark energy restraining him. Grantaire stumbled forwards and the Light shone on ahead of him.
Suddenly, two figures were illuminated, the Grantaire’s Light having broken the Dark shroud keeping them from sight.
One of them was Enjolras.
Grantaire couldn’t breathe. The sight in front of him was horrifying. Enjolras was lying in the lap of a manically screaming Montparnasse whose hand was around the blond’s neck. He was covered in blood and gore and discarded feathers.
And he wasn’t moving.
‘ENJOLRAS!’ the scream burst from him, agonising panic ripped through him. He shouted with all of his strength. He wrenched his body forwards, landed on his knees, and ignoring the jolt that it sent through his body he flung out an arm to grasp Enjolras.
Just one touch.
I can save him.
His hand touched the loose fingers of Enjolras’s. And the world dissolved into white.
3 days earlier….
If Grantaire thought he knew some shady people well, they were nothing compared to the people Jehan knew.
The angel was scouring the darkest parts of the London underworld and Grantaire wasn’t entirely comfortable at being dragged along. The two of them were now in a series of connected cellars running underneath some long derelict houses. It was dark, damp and cloying. There was a smell of human faeces and flies kept buzzing past their faces. Grantaire had to constantly look down to avoid discarded bottles, needles and used condoms. To say it was disgusting was an understatement. He felt like gagging. He continued down some steps after Jehan who had the advantage of being able lightly float down. The angel’s wings were hidden, but apart from that he wasn’t exactly being subtle. Mind you, no one here would probably question it. They’d already passed several people who were clearly drugged out of their minds.
It wasn’t just the sight and smell of this place that repelled Grantaire; now that he no longer had Dark energy residing within him, he could literally feel his flesh crawling in the proximity of people that were so far gone he was surprised they were still even alive.
‘They’re sustained by the Darkness’ replied Jehan in answer to Grantaire’s unspoken question. Grantaire huffed, the angel had a habit of seemingly reading his mind.
‘I’m not reading your mind, I’m just very good at reading you’ Grantaire rolled his eyes in response which surprisingly caused Jehan to beam and look at him fondly. Grantaire scowled.
‘We’re wasting time’ he pointed out, ‘Who knows what could be happening to Enjolras right now?!’
‘Mmmmm I’m less worried about the time and more worried about the location’ said Jehan continuing further in the cellar network.
‘How come?’ asked Grantaire scuttling after him and narrowly avoiding a patch of sick on the floor.
‘Well time runs differently in heaven and hell’ explained Jehan, peering around a corner before continuing on, ‘But we’re going to struggle to find out where Enjolras is if we can’t find the entrance he used to get into hell. If we don’t get it right then we could get captured, tortured, killed or just doomed to wander the corridors of hell for eternity.’
‘Christ’ swore Grantaire, his eyes wide.
‘Language’ scolded Jehan, ‘But yes, this is extremely dangerous and not at all authorised so we need to track down Montparnasse’s hiding place, that’s most likely where they entered hell.’
‘And you think if we can talk to Montparnasse’s minions then we can find out where his place is?’ asked Grantaire.
Jehan nodded then said ‘Are you sure he never told you where he lived when you knew him?’
‘I’m sorry but he never told me much’ said Grantaire, he felt like such an idiot, ‘He just always used to stay over at mine’ Grantaire went red and looked at his feet. Had he revealed too much?
‘No need to apologise’ replied Jehan gently, he reached over and patted Grantaire’s arm, causing waves of positive energy to rush through him, it would be disconcerting but he’d got used to the touchy-feely nature of Jehan in the couple of hours they’d been searching London for Montparnasse’s underlings, and now he didn’t mind the slight electric shock he got every time the angel brushed his skin.
Jehan was looking at him again, looking at him like he really knew him, even though they had only just met earlier that day. ‘Grantaire, it was only the Darkness within you that caused the attraction between you and Montparnasse, nothing else. I know who you really love.’
Grantaire looked up quickly, ‘I…I…’ he stammered before his shoulders slumped and he rested against the brick wall of the cellar ‘How did you know?’
‘Grantaire it doesn’t matter which life you and Enjolras are in, but you two will always be drawn to one another.’
Grantaire didn’t pretend to understand Jehan, the angel talked nonsense about half of the time, so he scoffed ‘Enjolras doesn’t like me like that…he’s just a friend. I mean, there’s no way in hell -no pun intended- that he’d actually like me back’
Jehan just looked at him fondly again. Grantaire scowled. Again.
‘Let’s just find Enjolras and bring him back’ he said as he followed Jehan deeper into the underground.
Their searches threw up nothing that day.
Nor the next.
Nor the next.
Grantaire was going out of his mind with worry. He was struggling to sleep. Jehan kept forcing him back home at the end of each day, promising to return once Grantaire had had some sleep. But he couldn’t. He just lay there in his bed , staring at the ceiling and trying to keep his breathing under control. He felt like he was constantly on the edge of a major panic attack. It was worse late at night, when they’d had to call off the search for that day, he couldn’t keep himself distracted, couldn’t convince himself that he was actually doing something to help Enjolras.
Enjolras was the best thing that had ever happened to him in his entire life. He’d only known the guy for just over a week and in that short space of time his life had completely turned around. He no longer felt like his life was pointless, that there was no use to living. He’d felt so, so alone in the world, and then Enjolras had arrived out of nowhere…
Grantaire tossed and turned in bed, he screwed his eyes shut, trying not to cry. The last two nights he’d cried, muffling the sounds in his pillow so his parents didn’t hear anything. With every day Grantaire could feel his life starting to fall to pieces again. He was racked with guilt. Enjolras had done this for him. He didn’t deserve this, not if it came at Enjolras’s expense. He was dangerously on the edge to slipping back into that Dark place he’d been before Enjolras’s arrival into his life. Only this time he knew he was the one causing it, not the Darkness.
Enjolras had made the stupid fucking deal to get rid of the Darkness from within him and there he was, on the verge of putting himself in the same position he was before the angel had even turned up. Grantaire knew he was capable of generating his own Dark energy. He could feel it within him, a scar from former times. If he picked at it long enough it would spill open again.
He couldn’t do that, if he surrendered himself to the Darkness then Enjolras’s sacrifice would be for absolutely nothing. Grantaire wished Enjolras had not done what he’d done. Grantaire was not worth it.
Stop that. Stop thinking that. Enjolras thought you were worth it. He did this for you because he believed in you. You need to start believing in yourself.
Grantaire shook his head and willed himself to sleep.
The next morning he woke feeling hollow, same as the others. He got out of bed to join Jehan in his search for Montparnasse’s hiding place. Grantaire forced himself to stay positive, determined to find Enjolras. He was wrecked.
Jehan seemed to be faring little better. Every morning he showed up at Grantaire’s window looking more ragged and unkempt than before. This morning the angel looked even worse, his braid had nearly all fallen out, there were feathers standing at odd angles from his wings and he was wearing the same clothes as when he’d first appeared to Grantaire. They were creased and stained.
‘You don’t look so good,’ said Grantaire by way of greeting that morning as he pushed open his bedroom window.
‘I’m….fine,’ Jehan said, slightly out of breath and waving a hand, ‘I’ve just….been busy that’s all.’
‘Busy doing what?’ asked Grantaire as he sat down on the edge of his bed to tie his shoes, ‘Don’t you sleep?’
‘No, angels don’t sleep,’ replied Jehan, ‘…I’ve been trying to keep the establishment off our backs.’
‘The what?’ asked Grantaire, he finished with his shoes and grabbed a hoodie jacket from where it hung over the edge of his bed. He put it on and zipped it up whilst moving to the window and clambering over the sill.
‘The Angel government,’ Jehan explained, reaching for Grantaire’s hand. Again, Grantaire felt that now familiar electric current run across his skin at Jehan’s touch and they were teleported to some new dark avenue in London.
‘Wait, there’s a government in heaven?’ Grantaire couldn’t quite believe it, but then again, with everything that had happened over the last couple of days he was hardly surprised.
‘Mmmmhhhmmmm’ said Jehan, looking around distractedly, then suddenly he went stock still and his eyes went out of focus ‘Dammit’ he said.
There was a blinding light and someone abruptly materialised out of thin air onto the street with them. Once more, it just showed how much Grantaire had got used to in such a short space of time, when he was no longer questioning sudden teleportation and materialisation. What is my life?
Jehan and Grantaire remained exactly where they were. The newcomer was a tall, well-built, well dressed, older gentleman. He exuded authority and he advanced towards them both with a face like thunder.
‘Care to explain what is going on?’ his voice barked at Jehan.
The usually collected angel beside Grantaire seemed to tremble slightly.
‘Valjean, look I can explain, I can, I…. just……ummm-‘
‘-Well come on, out with it! Where is Enjolras?’ demanded the angel named Valjean. Grantaire didn’t have to see the guy’s wings to know that his feathers were probably bristling in anger. This did not look like someone they wanted to cross. But they had to get to Enjolras! Grantaire hoped Jehan could indeed explain what was going on, as he had a very strong feeling they were doing something illegal, well, heaven’s version of illegal anyway.
‘He….ummmmm..he……fell.‘ Jehan hesitate before he told Valjean the truth.
‘I know he bloody left Prouvaire! The entire faculty has been made aware of it!’ Valjean snapped ‘Choosing to fall is not a subtle decision, why in heaven’s name would he do this?’
Grantaire chose that moment to speak up ‘It was my fault,’ he said stepping forward. Valjean took one look at him and then pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. ‘Prouvaire! You are with his human?’
‘Look it’s my fault,’ repeated Grantaire, ‘Enjolras made that deal to save me okay? It’s my fault!’
But then Jehan stepped forward as well and put an arm in front of Grantaire as a warning. ‘Valjean we were trying to get him back before anyone noticed alright? I’ve seen this outcome, I know what happens, Grantaire can save him.’
‘Yeah, I’m still not quite sure what you mean by that,’ said Grantaire but Valjean cut across him ‘Prouvaire cut across him't you mean by that'he days that they had been looking, had ehan looks of things.
ing at angles from hI don’t care what you’ve seen, you can’t just run rogue like this and especially not with a human.’
‘I know it’s not in line with protocol sir’ replied Jehan, ‘But having seen how Montparnasse’s decision to leave was handled in the department, I wasn’t going to let you abandon Enjolras.’
‘I wouldn’t just abandon him!’ cried Valjean looking incredulous.
Jehan folded his arms and bravely levelled a look at the other angel, ‘You did with Montparnasse’ he said flatly.
‘Yes, well…I never could handle Montparnasse right,’ said Valjean grudgingly. He frowned and avoided eye contact, ‘I regret a lot of things from that time.’
‘Then please do things the right way now,’ said Jehan pleadingly, ‘Please help us find Enjolras.’
Valjean looked conflicted, ‘It’s not as easy as that Jehan,’ he said, ‘Once an angel has made that decision-‘
‘No angel should have to make that decision.’ said Jehan.
There was a pause, ‘No’ sighed Valjean in agreement. A feeling of hope began to spread through Grantaire.
‘So will you help?’ he asked.
There was a long pause. Valjean looked into the distance for some time, he took several long breaths and seemed to be gearing himself up to make a decision. Grantaire and Jehan waited with baited breath. For the first time in days, Grantaire began to feel as if things might possibly work out, that they might actually be able to find Enjolras. Just the thought of seeing him again made his eyes prick with tears and his heart beat frantically. He bit his lip nervously waiting for the senior angel to answer.
Finally, Valjean nodded, ‘I will help…let’s find Enjolras and bring him home.’
So it turned out that Valjean knew some even shadier people that Jehan, and that was saying something. He wouldn’t even let Jehan ‘I don’t think so’ and Grantaire ‘Definitely not’ come with him when he went to speak to the lowlife cretins skulking in the shadowy parts of the already shadowy underworld.
He returned fairly quickly though and after mild shudder at having to associate with so much Dark energy he teleported them straight to Montparnasse’s apartment.
Grantaire knew it was Montparnasse’s apartment immediately because although the place was a complete tip, interspersed amongst the disgusting rubbish there were expensive shoes, watches, cologne and hair products dotted around the place. Plus, Montparnasse’s trademark black leather jacket was resting over the side of the settee.
The whole place gave off a negative energy, Grantaire could feel it. It felt unnatural yet familiar at the same time. Jehan was wincing as he looked around the apartment.
‘Oh good grief’ he said scrunching his nose up at the smell of rotting food, Montparnasse’s cologne and the smell of something burnt, ‘I have an intense dislike for Montparnasse’s tastes’
Grantaire snorted at that. He cautiously walked across the living room, peering into the adjoining master bedroom and putting his head around the corner to the bathroom. The place was deserted, he moved back towards where the other two angels were.
Valjean had moved to a spot in the room and was looking down at the floor.
‘Well this is where the entrance is,’ he said gesturing to a spot on the carpet. A dark circle was burned into the floor, running over floorboards and rug in an unwavering shape. Scorch marks trailed from the circle, it had clearly been on fire at some point. That would explain the smell of burning.
Grantaire gulped. That doesn’t look at all sinister.
‘Right’ said Grantaire, rolling his shoulders and coming to stand near the other two, ‘So how are we doing this?’
‘Firstly, you are not doing anything’ said Valjean firmly. He continued before Grantaire could even get out a sound to protest ‘We have a duty to protect you, and letting you walk into hell, is definitely not the way to go about that.’
‘Valjean,’ protested Jehan, ‘How else do you propose to get Enjolras back? Hmmmm? In case you’ve forgotten neither you or I can enter into hell, on account of the fact that we are angels.’
‘I know that Prouvaire’ grumbled Valjean, he was fixing his gaze on the circle, as if by staring at it he could get the entrance to open.
‘That’s none of your business-‘
But Jehan interrupted him ‘You were planning on making a deal! Weren’t you?’
‘Again, Prouvaire, none of your business’
‘The Darkness will not give up Enjolras, this is not the way to go about it. Valjean! I have seen it. It has to be Grantaire, he’s the only one who can save Enjolras.’
Valjean shot Jehan a hard look. He folded his arms as if to say no arguing with me: ‘Jehan, I don’t doubt you’ve seen something but I cannot let this boy just…wander down there. He is Enjolras’s charge, he must be protected.’
‘What are you both talking about?’ asked Grantaire, ‘Jehan can you just tell me what’s going on?’ That was probably a bit rude. But he didn’t care at this point, they were so close to getting to Enjolras, he needed to know what was happening.
There was a long pause and Valjean opened his mouth to speak but Jehan got there first: ‘Grantaire, I can…see…certain things’. He spoke hesitantly, as if he was unsure of how Grantaire would react, but when Grantaire didn’t interrupt him and just raised an eyebrow instead, Jehan carried on: ‘I can see the future.’
Well Grantaire hadn’t been expecting that. He let out a long breath. Should I even be surprised? After everything?
‘Riiiight’ he said slowly, thinking it over.
‘I can’t see everything’ Jehan added, ‘There are blank spaces and sometimes things, events just slot into place. 3 days ago, after Enjolras had left your house, I finally saw how things were supposed to go, what was supposed to happen. I saw you, reaching for Enjolras’s hand and saving him.’
‘Really?’ asked Grantaire, his eyes wide, ‘So Enjolras can definitely be rescued? He’s going to be okay?’
‘Yes’ said Jehan firmly.
A wave of relief washed over Grantaire. He felt the tightness around his chest loosen for the first time in days. He felt lighter, he felt more confident, he felt hopeful. Enjolras is going to be okay. I get to see him again.
‘But you are the one who has to do it.’ finished Jehan.
Okay so that wasn’t as comforting but at this point nothing was going to stop Grantaire from guaranteeing that Enjolras was going to be okay. If he had to be the one to do it then fine, he could go into hell. How hard can it be?
‘Ummm okay, so how do I do that?’ he asked, looking from one angel to the other.
Valjean was still clearly not happy about it, his jaw clenched as he said ‘After what Enjolras did to save this boy, we can’t just send him into hell.’
Valjean caught his gaze and held it. Grantaire felt like he was being cross-examined under a microscope. He tried to maintain eye contact and called up all his resolve. If he had to be the one to save Enjolras then he would do it, whatever it took.
‘I can do it’ he said, staring back at Valjean, ‘I owe so much to Enjolras, please… if I can do this for him, please let me.’
Valjean must have seen or sensed something within him because after a long pause the senior angel gave a curt nod and said ‘Prouvaire, I’m going to trust you on this one, as you’ve never been wrong yet.’
‘Thank you sir’ replied Jehan with a smile, he moved to grasp Grantaire by the elbow and the two of them backed off a little as Jehan gestured to the floor and said ‘If you’d do the honours.’
Valjean then set about muttering under his breath and pacing around the scorched circle on the floor.
‘What’s he doing?’ whispered Grantaire to Jehan.
‘He’s opening the entrance,’ replied Jehan.
‘I’m going to have to bathe for a week to get clean from all this Dark energy’ called out Valjean from where he was now standing on the edge of the circle.
Jehan turned to Grantaire and looked into his face, ‘Right Grantaire, listen to me. Once Valjean has opened the entrance we won’t have an awful lot of time. We’ll send you in and you’ll have to make your way to Enjolras, we’ll try and propel as much Light energy as we can behind you to back you up. It should be enough, all you have to do is touch Enjolras, that’s it and he’ll be rescued.’
‘That’s all?’ asked Grantaire He felt a bit numb, or was he feeling a bit sick? Either way, it wasn’t helpful, he needed to focus on Enjolras.
‘How do I bring him back?’
‘All you need to do is touch him, that should teleport you both out. Are you alright?’
Grantaire nodded. He was definitely feeling both numb and sick.
‘Right!’ called Valjean from across the room, it seemed the entrance had opened. Grantaire looked over, there was a black whirlwind spiralling up from the floor. Where the burned circle had been there was now a gaping hole.
Grantaire gulped again. That’s not as creepy as fuck.
As Grantaire’s feet no longer seemed to be working Jehan dragged him over to the entrance to….hell. He couldn’t still quite believe that.
‘You’ll be fine!’ shouted Jehan over the roar of the mini-tornado now battling in Montparnasse’s apartment. Things were going to start flying around soon with the force of the wind.
‘Just don’t die!’ yelled Valjean unhelpfully. He clapped Grantaire on the back. ‘We’ll be here sending all the Light we’ve got in with you, use it! It will help you find Enjolras. Bring him back to us.’
Grantaire nodded grimly, he was past words. He turned to stand on the edge of the black hole, the entrance to hell. He closed his eyes, thought hard of Enjolras and jumped.
Some time later…
Grantaire breathed in deeply as he slowly gained consciousness. He was disorientated, he didn’t even know he’d been asleep, couldn’t remember falling asleep…
He jerked suddenly, remembering everything, the walk into hell, struggling against the Dark energy, finding Enjolras, reaching for his hand. His eyes flew open, he was sitting on the floor of his bedroom, his back against his bed. His legs were stretched out in front of him and his hand was…his hand was still holding onto Enjolras’s.
He twisted sharply and looked to his right. Enjolras was lying on Grantaire’s bed, his head on the pillow, and his right arm stretched out so his hand remained in Grantaire’s grasp.
Grantaire stared at him.
Enjolras was asleep on his side, his chest was rising and falling steadily. His face was relaxed, he looked peaceful. Golden curls framed his face gently as his head lay on the pillow. Grantaire looked down at where their hands were joined. He gently brushed his thumb over the back of the blond’s hand, then curling his own fingers over the long, slim ones of Enjolras he brought them to his mouth and kissed them.
Then he brought their hands up to his forehead as he bowed his head and his whole body shook.
Tears fell from his eyes silently.
He’s here. Enjolras is here, he’s safe.
It was such a relief, all of the suppressed panic and worry over the past few days seemed to evaporate. He could feel the weight of the stress lift from his chest. He felt so much lighter, like he could float away if it were not for Enjolras’s hand keeping him anchored to the ground.
Enjolras is here. He’s safe.
But was he really alright? Grantaire looked back up and Enjolras’s prone form lying over the covers of his bed. He hurriedly wiped his eyes with his free hand; everything was blurry.
Focusing, he forced himself to analyse Enjolras.
His face was bruised and there were thin, pink lines streaking across his forehead, cheekbone and jawline. Evidence of cuts. He was pale, but not deathly pale. That’s something. His expression was calm; he gave the impression of being in a peaceful sleep. He didn’t look as if he was in pain.
Grantaire’s eyes searched Enjolras’s face desperately. Trying to look for any signs that Enjolras was suffering. But he did seem to just be sleeping. His breathing was long and measured.
Grantaire’s eyes scanned the rest of Enjolras’s body. He was in clean clothes: a loose shirt and trousers but no shoes. The shirt was open a couple of buttons at the neckline and Grantaire’s breath hitched a little as he spotted more red lines criss-crossing his chest. They looked angry and painful. But Enjolras still slept.
Grantaire couldn’t see any other signs of damage, but it didn’t mean there weren’t any. He sat onto his knees and knelt up to get a better view, still careful to hold Enjolras’s hand in his own.
What he saw…..it felt like being punched in the gut.
‘Enjolras’ Grantaire breathed out brokenly.
‘What did they do to you?’ he whispered, horrified.
What once had been full, lustrous, feather-covered wings, were now just skeleton. Stripped back to the raw, brittle bones. Plucked bare.
Grantaire reached out his free hand, it was shaking. His hand hovered over the skeleton frame, wanting to just…..he didn’t even know.
‘Oh Enjolras’ he sobbed, slumping down onto the floor and burying his head into the covers. His body was wracked with great heaving sobs as he tried to cope with what had happened.
A soft voice came from across the room. It was Jehan.
Grantaire was exhausted, he could hardly lift his head to look at the other angel. How long he’d been there Grantaire didn’t know.
Jehan approached softly and laid a hand on Grantaire’s shoulder.
‘Grantaire, he’s alright, he’s going to be alright….shush’ Jehan came and knelt on the carpet behind Grantaire and gathered his sobbing form into his arms. Grantaire still clutched Enjolras’s hand desperately. But he turned into Jehan’s shirt, crying into his shoulder.
Jehan just held him, not saying anything as Grantaire let his emotions run.
Grantaire was grateful. He couldn’t manage anything right now. He was so consumed by the feelings of relief and guilt and love and shock. Enjolras didn’t deserve this, Enjolras was pure. It was Grantaire’s fault that he was now scarred and broken. God, what had they done to him? He couldn’t imagine what Enjolras had been though, the pain he must have experienced, the suffering. It made him angry, why would he do that? Why would he put himself through that?
‘Grantaire,’ warned Jehan softly, ‘Grantaire, you need to stop feeling like this, he’s going to be alright. I promise you, he will be alright. You’re in danger of generating your own Dark energy, I can feel it...you saved him Grantaire, you brought him back.’
Grantaire looked up into the kind angel’s face. Jehan was smiling gently at him, one of his hands was smoothing circles into Grantaire’s back. It was calming, reassuring, anchoring him, much the same way his own grip on Enjolras’s hand was doing. With a lot of effort, Grantaire brought himself back from that precipice, the edge of creating Dark energy. He tried to focus on the positives, he really did, but it was so hard. Especially when Enjolras looked so...broken.
‘How can he be alright?’ he croaked, ‘Look at him.’
‘His wounds are already healing’ assured Jehan, he nodded towards the prone angel lying on Grantaire’s bed, ‘His face already looks much better. The scars will remain, evidence of the Darkness, but he will be whole again.’
Jehan took a breath before saying ‘…the feathers will grow back, but there will be some permanent damage I would have thought, the Darkness leaves its mark on each one of us. You have your own scars too; we just can’t see them.’
‘So, he’s going to be okay?’
‘He will be’ Jehan said firmly. He squeezed Grantaire to him in a warm hug. There were some long moments of silence before Grantaire spoke again.
‘How….how did we get out of hell?’ he asked, ‘I don’t remember what happened?’
‘Well, when you touched him, the Light energy within you,-congratulations on producing your own Light by the way, I knew you had it in you-’ Jehan rubbed Grantaire’s shoulder encouragingly, ‘when you touched Enjolras with your Light it redeemed him, saved him from the Darkness. Since Enjolras fell for you, on the condition that the Darkness could no longer have any power over you, when you reached him, you were able to set him free because the Darkness could not fight you, it could not control you. You were the only person who could save him, and you did. And then your sense of ‘home’ brought you here. You were both unconscious so I cleaned you up and left you to sleep. Sorry you were on the floor by the way, but you wouldn’t let go of his hand and he needed the bed.’ Jehan looked a bit guilty, but Grantaire didn’t mind.
‘So, I really did it?’ he breathed, looking back towards Enjolras, gazing into that sleeping face, ‘I really saved him?’
‘Just as he saved you’ said Jehan with a smile. He planted a kiss on the top of Grantaire’s curls before disentangling himself and standing up. Grantaire shuffled back towards the side of the bed, closer to Enjolras, his gaze still fixed on him.
‘We’re going to have to move him soon, he’ll need to recover and recuperate in heaven. So I’ll need you say to goodbye’ said Jehan softly.
‘Oh’ said Grantaire, ‘Can’t he just stay here?’
‘I’m afraid that’s not allowed’ replied Jehan sadly, ‘Valjean wanted to take him back immediately but I told him you needed a bit of time together, time to say goodbye.’
‘I don’t….but….when will I see him again?’ asked Grantaire worriedly. Yes Enjolras was healing quickly, but how long was that going to take? Time apparently was different in heaven. What did that mean? If Enjolras went back to heaven, would he ever even see him again? His heart started beating quicker in slight panic.
There was a long, pregnant pause.
‘Grantaire, I’m sorry but You’re not going to be able to see him again.’
‘But…I need him here!’ cried Grantaire, before checking to make sure Enjolras was still asleep and he hadn’t woken him up, ‘You…you can’t just take him away!’
‘Grantaire’ said Jehan reaching out a hand to place on Grantaire’s shoulder trying to calm him, ‘Grantaire, he can’t stay here, he’s an angel, he belongs in heaven.’
‘But he came to earth to look after me,’ said Grantaire stubbornly. This could not be happening. He’d already had Enjolras taken away from him once, he couldn’t do it again. How was he supposed to live? He needed Enjolras to keep him happy, Enjolras was the reason he was happy. ‘I can’t do this on my own,’ he said, ‘I need him.’
‘You don’t, you know.’ said Jehan with a half-smile.
‘You don’t need him Grantaire. You are capable of creating your own Dark energy, but you can also create your own Light energy too. You are in balance. Enjolras came here to help you achieve that balance, so…really his work is done.’
‘I know it’s hard Grantaire, but Enjolras was never going to be here on earth forever. Heaven is his home.’
Grantaire’s mind was reeling. Why had he not ever paused to consider this?
When he met Enjolras, Enjolras was just another guy who had moved to his school. But over the space of a week he’d become a close friend, the closest Grantaire had ever had. They’d hung out, got to know one another, made each other laugh and shared secrets. Enjolras had made no indication that he wasn’t sticking around for good. Sure, he’d said he’d moved around a lot, but…they’d talked about university, about jobs, about their futures. And the more Grantaire had got to know Enjolras the more he’d seen a future where Enjolras would be there. Maybe not as close as what Grantaire wanted, but a friend for life.
But then it had all gone wrong. Montparnasse had showed up and it had sent Grantaire into a downward spiral and Enjolras had had to reveal himself in order to save Grantaire. And sure, finding out that your friend was an angel was….strange, weird, unexpected. But Grantaire didn’t care, because it was still Enjolras. It was still the guy he’d fallen in love with….just with wings. Enjolras was still Enjolras.
But Jehan was right. This wasn’t Enjolras’s home. He belonged in heaven. Grantaire had been stupid to think that once they’d found Enjolras, once they’d brought him back that he would stay here on earth with Grantaire. He was an angel. He didn’t belong here. No matter how hard Grantaire might want him too.
It bloody, fucking hurt.
‘I…I just,’ he started to say, trying to find the words to express how he felt, ‘I just never…Enjolras is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.’
‘Oh Grantaire,’ said Jehan, sounding on the verge of tears.
‘You better take care of him’ said Grantaire trying to sound brave but his voice was wet, ‘Alright? You better take fucking good care of him.’
‘I’ll let you say goodbye’ said Jehan. The small angel backed off and went to sit on the open window ledge, his back to the room with Enjolras and Grantaire in it.
Grantaire moved as close as he could to Enjolras’s side. Stroking his thumb over and over Enjolras’s fingers. He looked down at the stupidly, perfect, angelic face.
‘It’s alright Enj’ he said in a low voice, ‘I’m just making a mess of things as per usual.’
He reached out his spare hand and brushed some of the curls back from Enjolras’s face. They were as soft as he’d imagined them to be, springing back despite his best efforts. He trailed his fingers down the side of the blond’s face, over the scars across his brow bone and over that prominent cheekbone. He paused, then resting his hand on Enjolras’s face, he leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to the angel’s forehead.
‘Goodbye Enjolras’ he said as he gently pulled back.
But as he did so, Enjolras took a long, deep breath in and his eyelids fluttered.
Grantaire’s heart skipped a beat.
Breathing out, Enjolras opened his eyes, pupils contracting with the light to reveal that familiar, comforting blue. Grantaire remained where he was, frozen. He was very, very close to Enjolras, their noses only a couple of centimetres apart.
Enjolras, upon recognising Grantaire, smiled. And it was enough to make Grantaire fall in love with him all over again.
‘Hello,’ the angel whispered.
‘Hey there,’ responded Grantaire. He really didn’t know what else to say, did Enjolras remember what happened? He really shouldn’t be this close. But then again, he seemed to be unable to move, Enjolras’s eyes were hypnotic.
‘Are you alright?’ Enjolras asked groggily.
‘Am I? Jesus fucking Christ Enjolras, seriously? You’re asking if I’m okay?’ Enjolras pulled a face so Grantaire hastily added ‘I’m fine. It’s you I’m worried about.’
‘Yes you. You’ve been to hell and back. Literally. You almost died.’
Enjolras’s brow furrowed again, ‘Grantaire,’ he began, his voice full of sleep, ‘In case you’ve forgotten, I’m immortal. I can’t die.’
That stumped Grantaire for a second, giving time for Enjolras to continue, ‘What happened? The last thing I remember was…your voice and….your hand.’ He looked down to where his and Grantaire’s hands were still clasped together.
‘Oh, um sorry’ said Grantaire pulling his hand away but Enjolras’s fingers twisted and threaded together with his.
‘There’ whispered Enjolras, ‘That’s better.’ He smiled a small smile and tried to stretch on the bed but something obviously caused him severe pain and he collapsed immediately back onto the mattress a low whine escaping from his mouth.
‘What is it? Enjolras? What hurts?’ asked Grantaire, panicked.
‘S’fine’ said Enjolras through gritted teeth, coming to rest back in his original position on his side, facing Grantaire, ‘Just shattered knees and….my wings.’
‘Shattered knees?’ cried Grantaire, horrified. ‘You idiot, don’t move. I knew you weren’t alright”’
‘I’m fine,’ repeated the Enjolras, ‘I’m healing, it just hurts a bit.’
‘Fucking hell,’ swore Grantaire, ‘Just don’t…don’t look around okay? Jehan says your wings will grow back, but…it’s not a pretty sight.’
‘My wings were never that pretty to begin with,’ said Enjolras. Grantaire begged to disagree but this wasn’t the time.
‘But still,’ said Grantaire opening his mouth but he was stopped from saying anything more by Enjolras running his thumb over Grantaire’s hand this time, trailing a pattern into his palm.
‘Be still’ said Enjolras softly. And Grantaire was. Enjolras must know the effect he was having on Grantaire, must know what the skin on skin contact of their hands was doing to him. It was calming but thrilling at the same time.
‘Tell me what happened’ Enjolras said, looking back at Grantaire, ‘Tell me why you were there in that awful place.’
But instead of Grantaire answering, Jehan took this moment to lean back into the room from Grantaire’s open window. ‘We rescued you from the Darkness, well, Grantaire rescued you. He made his own Light and everything’ he said in a proud tone, looking fondly at Grantaire.
Enjolras jumped a little upon hearing Jehan’s voice, but his eyes quickly went back to Grantaire’s face, questioning.
‘What?’ he whispered.
Grantaire nodded, ‘We…ummm..we went to hell, and Jehan and Valjean opened the entrance and-‘
‘Valjean was with you?’
‘Well, yes but they couldn’t go into hell you see, so that’s why I had to go, because the Darkness can’t affect me, because of what you did.’
‘Grantaire. I did what I did precisely so that you would never have to go near the Darkness again.’ said Enjolras. He sounded annoyed but Grantaire didn’t care, he would walk through hell and back a hundred times if it meant Enjolras would be safe.
‘Why would you go to hell to find me?’ asked Enjolras.
Because I love you.
‘Because…because you saved me, and honestly Enj, you should never have done that alright? I’m not worth it.’
‘Because….’ Enjolras looked at him incredulously, ‘Grantaire, you are worth everything to me. If there was even the slightest chance that you would be able to live a good, happy, Light-filled life I would take it, I would do anything to give you the future you deserve.’
And Grantaire’s heart nearly broke at those words, because those were the words that he had longed to hear all his life. That he was worth so much to someone that they would sacrifice everything, including themselves for him. And to hear those words from Enjolras. It was beautiful and too much and also not enough.
Because Enjolras could never be with him.
So he did the only thing he could and said ‘Thank you’ whilst hot tears spilled down his cheeks.
‘No, thank you’ replied Enjolras, reaching softly with his free hand to wipe the tears from Grantaire’s cheeks and Grantaire could pretend that this was enough. He could hold onto this moment in the days, and weeks and years to come and pretend that in this moment it was all okay, that he loved Enjolras and Enjolras loved him and it was enough.
But then Jehan was swinging over the window ledge and back into the room, ‘Enjolras, it’s time to go. We need to get you back to heaven and to the healers.’
Enjolras carried on looking at Grantaire, holding his gaze whilst saying sadly, ‘Yes…alright.’
And Grantaire bit his lip to stop the protestations, the cries, the screams of no! from spilling out. Instead he helped as Jehan came over to manoeuvre Enjolras very slowly and carefully into a sitting position on the bed.
The blond angel screwed his eyes a couple of times with the pain that was no doubt spasming though his legs and back, but after several long moments he caught his breath.
‘Ready to go?’ asked Jehan, reaching an arm around Enjolras’s waist and taking Enjolras’s free hand in the other for Enjolras to grip.
‘One moment,’ said Enjolras and turned to face Grantaire who had now come to sit on the bed on Enjolras’s other side. Enjolras lifted their clasped hands and Grantaire knew this was it. The moment to say goodbye forever.
‘I’ll never forget you,’ he said with a lump in his throat.
‘I should hope not,’ said Enjolras with a smile, ‘I could never forget you Grantaire, never forget the way your hand feels in mine,’ and he brought their clasped hands up to his mouth and pressed his lips to the back of Grantaire’s hand.
Grantaire’s breath stuttered.
Enjolras’s eyes twinkled with something as he tugged Grantaire’s whole arm forward and leaning gently, but decisively forward himself he pressed warm, soft lips to Grantaire’s own.
Grantaire’s brain struggled to register what was happening. Enjolras was kissing him, a soft but definite kiss. On his lips. His eyes fluttered closed in a natural reaction to the sensation.
Enjolras lingered there for the longest moment of Grantaire’s life before he slowly and carefully pulled back.
Grantaire opened his eyes as Enjolras said quietly with a smile, ‘Now I have something else to remember.’ Then he took a breath, ‘Farewell Grantaire, I’ll see you soon.’
And with that, Jehan teleported the two of them away from Grantaire’s room, away from earth, back to heaven. They disappeared in a bright light, leaving Grantaire sitting alone on his bed hand still outstretched from where it had been in Enjolras’s grasp only seconds before.
He raised shaking fingers to his mouth. Touching lips that only moments before had been touching Enjolras’s.
Enjolras had kissed him. Beautifully, sweetly.
‘Goodbye Enjolras’ said Grantaire in barely more than a whisper, his mouth moving against his raised fingers, and even though Enjolras had said that he would see him soon, Grantaire knew he would never see the angel again.
Okay, so first thing. There is going to be a sequel. I promise. I couldn't leave it like this, what do you take me for?
I'm hoping to get something uploaded in the next month or so. Easter is coming up and my dissertation is nearly done so I should have more time in April.
Secondly, but no less important, thank you so much for reading this. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to read and comment. It really means so much.
I'm on tumblr if you want to come and say hello, and in the meantime I suggest you go and drop by Vivian_Curtis as I've been beta'ing her work :)
I'll see you soon,