Their room is always warm, being close to the furnaces. Grantaire had wanted it that way, before Enjolras came to live with him, on account of not liking to walk long distances. Enjolras has grown to love it, to love the warmth seeping through his bones, the sea close enough that Enjolras can feel its call.
Today, the close warmth of the volcano can’t reach him, however. Today, it can’t tame the cold that has reached into his heart, making his chest ache.
He’d seen servants and spirits scatter at his passage, on his way to their rooms, sensing his mood. They’d seen his long stride and the frown on his face, and assumed he was angry – which he was.
But it was nothing compared to the absolute despair in his heart.
He had been out in the world, for once, not holed up at home watching his husband craft beautiful things. He was bound to do his job, once in a while – oversee maidens just blooming into beauty, generals dying for love of their country, helping love along where he could.
Which was how he’d overheard the rumours. It had stopped him in his tracks. A mother was telling the tale to her daughter, while braiding her hair. He had been drawn there by their love, the daughter’s soft curly hair and the laughter lines on the mother’s face.
That, and they had spoken his name.
“He was the most beautiful god, and thus his father worried the other gods would become violent in the rivalry for his affections,” she said, which is how it usually started. “And so they married him off to the smithing god, for he was the most even-tempered, as well as the ugliest.”
He doesn’t like to hear the stories, for how wrong they are, for how they do not know anything about true beauty, or love. It pains him, that they would misinterpret it – misinterpret him – in this way.
And so he was about to leave, unwilling to hear yet another story about a beautiful god stuck in a loveless marriage. The mother and the daughter did not deserve his wrath.
He was about to leave, when he had heard. He had grown pale, and still, and quite cold. It had been a long time until he had been able to move, to flee back to the warmth of Grantaire’s furnaces.
But even that is not enough.
He paces up and down, his feelings as volatile as the stories make him – one moment miserable, another angry and ready to smite the nearest bard, and then anxious right after. What if Grantaire has heard? He needs to make sure Grantaire hears it from him first, he needs to tell him it could never, ever be true –
He hears the uneven sound of Grantaire’s boots out in the corridor, the rhythmic thud of his cane, before he can bring himself to go out to the furnaces.
Grantaire appears at the door just as Enjolras turns, already reaching for him. He is glistening with sweat and smeared with grime from the workshop, his sleeves hastily pushed up, dark curls in disarray.
Enjolras heart still aches, squeezing tighter. His husband.
“Well?” Grantaire says, smiling, only half-uncertain. “Who incurred your wrath today? The servants came for me all a-flutter. I do hope it’s not me, I can’t think of what I could’ve done between this morning and now…”
Enjolras is across the room before Grantaire can finish, taking his face in his hands, drawing him close and kissing him hard. Grantaire, to his credit, only falters for a moment before his big hands come to settle on Enjolras’ waist. Distantly, he hears the cane clatter to the ground.
They should talk first, he knows. He should fix it immediately. But Grantaire is here, and warm under his hands, and Enjolras is still very, very cold.
Grantaire hums against his mouth, and his fingers tighten on Enjolras’ sides. He can feel his calluses, knows the way they’ll be making dents in the soft brown skin.
Enjolras nips at his lower lip, then draws back. Grantaire chases after him briefly, before stopping. He looks down at Enjolras with long-lashed, wide brown eyes. His face is asymmetrical, skin flushed from the heat and uneven in colour, his nose broken in the same fall that broke his foot and left it unable to carry his weight. In these unguarded moments, with love and adoration making his eyes shine, that faint smile on his lips – swollen, red, well-kissed – Enjolras thinks, knows, he is beautiful.
“You smell like soot,” Enjolras says. “And metal.”
“You don’t mind?” Grantaire asks, knowing the answer.
Enjolras shakes his head, burying his face in Grantaire’s neck, where the smell is sharper. He stays there for a moment, his mouth against hot skin, not quite kissing it. Then he pulls back again.
“So you’re not angry with me,” Grantaire says, licking his lips. It makes Enjolras want to pull him down to kiss, again, so he does.
“No,” Enjolras says. He is, however, reminded of exactly what it is that upset him.
He doesn’t know what his face does, but it makes Grantaire frown. His fingers brush Enjolras’ cheekbone, gentle despite their size.
“What is it?” he asks.
Enjolras looks away. “I heard something.”
Grantaire huffs, and pushes his hand into Enjolras’ golden curls, where they are soft and warm at his nape.
“Ah yes, the usual tale?” he mutters. “What is the god of love and beauty doing, with such a hideous wretch for a husband?”
He says so lightly, like he has heard it a thousand time. He has. He says it like it is a joke, not to be taken seriously. Enjolras knows better, knows Grantaire hurts way more than he shows.
So his thumbs brush the soft skin beneath Grantaire’s eyes and he smiles.
“Loving him,” he says.
He has the pleasure of seeing Grantaire go pink. His flippant, carefully careless expression is shattered.
“I guess so,” he says, looking away. “Do not think I’ll be distracted by flattery, though. Can’t have been the usual stories that upset you.”
Grantaire knows him too well.
When he’d heard, Enjolras had been seized by the urge to run home to him and tell him first, to hold him close and let him know it wasn’t true, could never be true, and yet now it’s hard to get the words out.
“It starts the same,” he says. “Zeus binds me to the even-tempered smithing god.”
“Sure sign they’ve never met me,” Grantaire says, at that, grinning. “Or you. As if any god could ever force you to do anything, foam-risen menace you are.”
It makes Enjolras grin, despite it all. He is more ancient than Zeus, though some stories do call him his father, like the mother had. Grantaire is right. King or not, Enjolras would never have let himself be married off.
“In the story, I am unhappy,” he says, and draws a shuddering breath. “So I am unfaithful.”
He has clenched his eyes shut, at some point, and when he opens them again, Grantaire is looking at him evenly, if sadly. Calm.
“Who was it with, this time?” he asks.
It’s like a sharp sting, to Enjolras’ heart, and he draws back abruptly. Grantaire is still looking at him with that unbearable sad smile.
“You knew,” Enjolras whispers, without even bothering to make it a question.
“I know the things they say about us, darling,” he says. His mouth takes a bitter, downward bend. “They’re not quite as careful about me hearing them, as they are with you.”
Enjolras can’t quite breathe, which is worrying for someone deathless. He has drawn back enough, in his horror, to be out of reach of Grantaire’s arms. The urge from before explodes in his chest again, and makes him walk right back to him, drawing him close.
He leans his forehead against Grantaire’s, and presses their bodies close.
“You must know,” he gasps, barely above a whisper. “It’s not true, you must know – I would never – ”
“Enjolras,” Grantaire says. He runs soothing hands up and down Enjolras’ back and presses closer.
Enjolras shakes his head, and looks him straight in the eye.
“It’s a lie,” he says, more forceful, with all the conviction he has. “It could never be true. You must know.”
Grantaire is looking at him, wide-eyed, almost dazed, and Enjolras hates the surprise in his eyes.
“I definitely know now,” Grantaire says, a twitch of a smile at the corner of his mouth.
It is so, so hateful to Enjolras that he might not have known, might have doubted. He is torn between running off to raze fields in rage, and pressing Grantaire onto their bed and making him know. Making it so he’ll never forget. Enjolras is his.
“If you’re thinking of smiting poor gossiping souls,” Grantaire says. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
Enjolras huffs. “How can you know me so well, and yet be so oblivious?”
“It’s a gift,” Grantaire says.
“What would you have me do, then?”
Grantaire presses his fingers against the small of Enjolras’ back. It grinds their hips together, and makes Enjolras’ breath hitch.
“Stay,” Grantaire says. He is very close, his breath warm and sweet against Enjolras’ mouth. “Stay with me.”
There’s something quiet and desperate in his voice, which he’s trying to hide. The thing that makes him doubt, the part of him that hurts when hearing the stories.
The second option, then.
In his haste to move them to the bed, Enjolras ends up lifting him bodily. Grantaire laughs.
On the bed, sprawled on his back, his hair a wild, dark halo, he reaches up to pull Enjolras down on him.
“How can you be so strong and yet so small?” Grantaire says, before pulling Enjolras into a kiss.
Into his smiling mouth, Enjolras says, “I am not much shorter than you.”
“My posture is terrible,” Grantaire says. He sighs, wordless, when Enjolras moves to kiss his throat. “It – it doesn’t count.”
Enjolras won’t hear any more of it, and silences him with a kiss. He makes it as slow and thorough as he knows, and he knows much. Grantaire melts, the room steadily getting hotter.
“Settle down,” Enjolras says, and smiles. He adds, in good humour, “Calm your furnaces.”
“Calm, he says!” Grantaire says, calloused hands slipping underneath his robes, running up the smooth, dark skin of Enjolras’ back. “You drive me wild.”
Enjolras arches into his touch and looks down at him steadily. He smiles.
“I love you,” he says. He feels Grantaire’s hands tighten against his sides, and he squirms. “Let me see you.”
Grantaire is already arching up to undo his leather apron, even as he complains, “There is no use in me telling you there isn’t much to see, is there?”
“I do not presume to teach you about smithing,” Enjolras replies, reasonably. He is already at work on the rest of Grantaire’s clothes, and slapping Grantaire’s hands away when he attempts to return the favour.
“Wait for your turn,” he says. Grantaire laughs, and bucks under him, making him gasp.
“Whatever you wish,” Grantaire says. “Anything.”
Grantaire’s clothes done away with, Enjolras’ chiton is also discarded quite enthusiastically. Grantaire makes space for him between his legs, and Enjolras melts against him again, covering his body.
“What do you want?” Grantaire asks, again, low and unsteady. He cranes his neck to steal a kiss of his own. If he meant it to be brief, he fails. Enjolras’ mouth parts against his, and the kiss becomes hot, and wet, and frantic.
Enjolras finds his hands, slots their fingers together and holds him down against the mattress. Grantaire makes a high, desperate sound and arches against him, creating some delicious friction between their bodies.
It makes Enjolras sigh, warmth skittering along his spine. He is forgetting what the cold felt like.
“You,” Enjolras says, rocking his hips again. He swallows Grantaire’s groan, bites at his lips. “Only you. Always you.”
Grantaire rears up to return the kiss – rough, now, the words lighting him up. Enjolras likes him like this – wild, demanding, hot tongue sweeping past Enjolras’ lips and across the roof of his mouth.
When they part, Grantaire’s chest is heaving, and Enjolras’ is no better. He smiles, smug, and Grantaire licks his swollen lips.
“Fair,” Grantaire says. His voice is already hoarse, and Enjolras can feel him hot and hard against his stomach. “How do you want me, then?”
There is too much choice. Enjolras could have him for days. He grinds his hips down and draws another lovely noise from Grantaire.
He says, “Just like this. Except – ”
He pulls one of Grantaire’s hands to his mouth, still tangled with his. He kisses one misshapen, knobby knuckle.
“Your hand,” Enjolras says. “I want your hand.”
He hasn’t made a secret of the fact that he loves Grantaire’s hands. He’s wanted them on his body, grabbing his hips, his thighs, holding onto him. He’s wanted them inside himself on quite a few occasions, and on quite a few more he has had to drag Grantaire to bed, interrupting in the middle of a project, because the sight of his hands hard at work, making beautiful things, had gotten to be too much.
His request makes Grantaire smile, which is an excellent result in itself. Even better, he pulls their tangled hands closer and nips at Enjolras’ fingers in turn. It makes Enjolras’ stomach do pleasant, fluttery things.
He lets go of Enjolras’ hand, and reaches down, brushing along the length of Enjolras’ side and squeezing his hip to pull him down one more time.
They go on like this for some time, rocking against each other and getting increasingly desperate, Grantaire’s hand merely clutching at Enjolras’ buttock, hip, side, back.
“Gods, the sounds you make,” Grantaire pants, breaking away from another frantic, wet kiss. “Sometimes I just can’t – I can’t believe – ”
Enjolras doesn’t stop, doesn’t know how. He kisses him again, on his panting mouth. He isn’t quite in control of the whining sounds coming from the back of his throat, the way even taking breath comes out as a moan.
He says, “They’re for you. It’s – it’s you. Grantaire.”
That’s when Grantaire finally, finally, reaches between them to grasp them in his hand, together.
The sound Enjolras makes is sharp, a hoarse shout, almost triumphant.
“Just that,” he says. “You’re perfect.”
Grantaire groans. “You’ll kill me.”
Enjolras laughs, thrusting into his hold. “You are deathless.”
“And you are impossible,” Grantaire counters, twisting his wrist and making Enjolras shudder.
“Ah, Grantaire,” he says. It’s all he can say for a while. Grantaire. Grantaire.
When he feels his inevitable release build, he tightens the hand still holding Grantaire’s.
“I’m – I’m going to – ” he says.
“Yes,” Grantaire pants. “I’m right here – right here. With you.”
It makes Enjolras smile, sharp and wicked, and he rolls his hips again, feels the heel of Grantaire’s hand against him on an upstroke. He’s so close.
“Good,” he says. He looks straight into Grantaire’s eyes, holds him there. “Stay with me.”
He can see the tell-tale signs on Grantaire’s body, the quality of his uneven breaths and the way his thighs shudder, clench and release around Enjolras’ hips. Enjolras brings his free hand to claw marks into one of them, knowing the way it’ll make Grantaire buck and throw his head back.
Enjolras latches onto his bared neck, sucking an angry red bruise.
“Oh, gods,” Grantaire gasps, and he is right there, Enjolras can tell. “Enjolras.”
“Yes,” Enjolras says. “That’s right.”
Grantaire shouts as he comes, and Enjolras could swear he feels it reverberate through the mountain. His hand stutters, between them, loses its rhythm. Enjolras, still on the edge, doesn’t mind giving him the space of a few breaths to recover.
He is much warmer, and softer, like this. His eyes closed, a sweep of dark lashes on his cheekbones. He takes Enjolras’ kisses with much patience, and a faint smile on his thin lips.
Enjolras’s hand reaches down to join his. He wishes he could see their fingers, slotted together, now moving again to bring him to climax. But Grantaire is looking right at him through languid, heavy-lidded eyes, and Enjolras knows he wants to see him come undone.
It’s a small thing to grant, and Enjolras lets his mouth go slack, looks down at him with glazed eyes, and doesn’t hold back any of his desperate sounds.
“Oh, you’re gorgeous,” Grantaire says, kissing the corner of his mouth. “My beautiful love.”
He doesn’t know why it makes him groan, when those words are almost common, when applied to him. How many people have called him beautiful? It should not be any different.
But it is.
“Yes,” he pants, and tumbles over the edge, spilling hot and wet between them. “Grantaire.”
Everything is slow, and hazy, and sweet, for a few moments after that. Grantaire takes his weight with no complaint. His clean hand has, at some point, freed itself, and come to rest on Enjolras’ back.
“If you want to be clean, you will need to move,” Grantaire says, and makes no move to dislodge him, his fingers drawing gentle patterns on Enjolras’ back instead.
Enjolras hums, arches into the touch, and then slowly slides off. He doesn’t like when the stickiness lingers, and Grantaire knows.
They don’t keep the towels very far away, but Enjolras still gets an excellent view of Grantaire’s broad back when he twists around to grab them from the bedside table.
Grantaire makes quick work of wiping them down, then lies down in his back again, ready for Enjolras to curl up against him.
He lays his cheek on Grantaire’s belly, facing up towards him, tracing patterns on his chest, tugging gently at the hair there. He likes to stay right here, likes the way Grantaire is soft around the middle and on his hips.
“Comfortable?” Grantaire asks, and Enjolras merely nuzzles closer and feels Grantaire’s fingertips trace the edges of his smile.
“I love you,” he says, looking up at Grantaire. “Do you believe me?”
Grantaire smiles, and presses his thumb against the corner of his mouth.
“Yes,” he says, and his smile widens when Enjolras turns to kiss the pad of his thumb. “You love me. And I, you.”
Enjolras knows he looks pleased, and does nothing to hide it. It’s always sweet to hear.
Then he frowns, and digs his fingers into Grantaire’s chest. “And I wouldn’t – ”
“Do you? Did you?” Enjolras asks, his head rising minutely. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Grantaire isn’t looking at him, but up at the uneven, bare rock ceiling. “It would have hurt you. It did hurt you.”
Because he isn’t looking at him, Enjolras knows it isn’t all of it. He lies back down, his cheek against Grantaire’s skin.
“Tell me, next time,” he says, his voice small. “Every time. So I can tell you it isn’t true.”
Grantaire smiles faintly, and his hand moves to the back of Enjolras’ neck again, to the dense curls there. Enjolras closes his eyes at the motion.
“You are so stubborn,” Grantaire says, fondly. “After all, you don’t do anything halfway, do you? Especially not love.”
It’s the truth, and Enjolras undelines it with a kiss to Grantaire’s belly. Maybe that’s why it’s different, when Grantaire calls him beautiful. When he does, he means all of this too: Enjolras’ temper and his belief. All his flaws.
“You will tell me,” Grantaire says, finally. “You will tell me if you’re unhappy, won’t you?”
Enjolras frowns, and sits up. “Grantaire…”
“No, listen.” Grantaire rises up as well, and takes Enjolras’ hands in his. His big, rough hands, and Enjolras’ small elegant ones, side by side.
“I trust you,” Grantaire says, almost forceful. “I do. And I want you to be happy.”
One of his hands comes to cup Enjolras’ cheek, stroking gently, and Enjolras leans into the touch.
“Promise me you’ll tell me if you’re not,” Grantaire says.
Enjolras holds his hand against his cheek, and shifts, so he is straddling Grantaire’s thighs.
“I’m happy,” he breathes into Grantaire’s mouth, and kisses him. Grantaire’s arms gather him close, and Enjolras’ wrap around his broad shoulders.
They stay like that for a long time, trading slow kisses, enjoying the feeling of smooth skin on skin.
When Enjolras finally pulls away, the uncertain, serious look is gone from Grantaire’s eyes. A flash of good humour has returned to his smile.
“Tell me, was it Ares again? In the story.”
It startles a loud, frustrated groan from Enjolras, and a booming laugh from Grantaire. He hides his face in Grantaire’s shoulder, and feels his cheeks on fire.
“That’s how I knew, you see,” Grantaire says, pinching Enjolras’ side even as he cradles him against his chest. “You couldn’t possibly stand him long enough to bed him.”
Enjolras pulls away, and feels the self-righteousness in his chest only barely tempered by the amusement on Grantaire’s face.
“You may laugh,” Enjolras says. “And you said I shouldn’t smite innocent bards – well, don’t think you can stop me going after Ares.”
“I’d never dream of it!” Grantaire exclaims. He leans in close, still smiling. “I’m also sure he started the rumours in the first place.”
Enjolras’ eyes widen, and he feels the old rage rise in his chest again, until he catches sight of the mischief in Grantaire’s eyes.
“What are you thinking?” he asks, his mouth already curling into a smile.
Grantaire is still very close, his grin sharp. “I have an idea, I think, to teach him a lesson.”
Enjolras’ answering smile only widens, and he can’t help the heat stirring in his belly again.
“I like you wicked,” he says, fingers tightening in Grantaire’s curls, lips a hair’s breadth away.
“Do you?” Grantaire asks, light and amused, then pulls him into a kiss.
It starts gentle and teasing, and doesn’t stay so for very long. If they tumble into bed again – and again – Enjolras certainly has no complaints.