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Immortal Longings

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Enjolras detested serving at these types of events more than anything. Feasts were an obscene display of wealth and affluence that gave no thought to the fact that the food that was on display here for no more than a hundred people could easily feed a hundred families that were at this very moment starving in their meagre homes. It maddened him that he must maintain a neutral façade and continue to serve his master wine as though the whole event did not make him sick to his stomach. He would gladly dump the entire jug over his master’s head, or the head of anyone sat here at the top table. The seat was supposed to honour his master; to be seated at the same table as the prince was a great privilege. He didn’t care about that at all; all it meant to him was that he had further to go to refill his wine jug.

 

Enjolras admitted, it wasn’t simply being forced to serve at a feast that had him in such an irritable mood this evening. He was tired from having to serve his master all day as he negotiated over taxes with the prince and his men. He’d been sent all over the castle to fetch everything from food and drink to parchment to light entertainment in the form of a singer. As Enjolras understood, neither the prince nor his master were willing to compromise any further and the lack of headway put his master in a cantankerous mood. The man was harsh at the best of times but when he was irritated he became categorically cruel and Enjolras had been lucky to escape with a few slaps to the face for no more than being too slow to bring out his masters finery for this evening.

 

Enjolras turned to go and fill his master’s wine jug, passing the prince’s own personal servant and smiling at him. He liked Courfeyrac and had exchanged quiet words with him throughout the day as they’d both performed various tasks for their masters. As he turned back from filling the jug he saw the prince exchanging words with Courfeyrac, a most improper thing to begin with. What unsettled Enjolras though, was not the impropriety of the situation, but that both Courfeyrac and the prince kept glancing at him as they spoke. That and the cold triumphant gleam in his master's eye as he overheard them.

 

Prince Grantaire himself had surprised Enjolras. For someone who already all but ruled the country and had done since his father the king had fallen ill, the man looked nothing like the responsible, stern young man Enjolras had been picturing. His hair was much wilder than anything Enjolras had seen on any noble, let alone a prince. He’d had stubble over his chin that morning and had very clearly been recovering from the vast amount of alcohol he had consumed the night before. And what’s more, despite his firm stance on negotiations he didn’t seem to take any of it seriously. A reduction on the taxation of his master could result in a reduction on the taxation of the serfs of his master’s land, who were drowning under the financial strain as it was. And Grantaire acted as though it was all a fucking game.

 

Enjolras’ anger, temporarily forgotten in his unease, returned with force and he spent the rest of the feast trying to keep it under control.

 

 

 


 

 

 

The unease returned to Enjolras in full force when his master sent Combeferre away immediately upon entering his quarters. They usually prepared him for bed together. Combeferre eyed Enjolras worriedly as he left the room.

“Boy,” his master called sharply, “get on with it.” Enjolras hurried to disrobe him and quickly helped him into his night clothes. As he did his master continued talking.

“The prince expressed his interest in you tonight. When I’m done with you here, you’ll go and offer yourself to him.”

 

Enjolras felt horror run through him and he reeled back until he was pressed against the wall.

“No,” he choked out.

“Yes,” his master hissed, pressing his against the wall and gripping him by his hair to hold him there. “You’ll go to back to the hall and the prince and you’ll beg him to take you. He might be more amenable in negotiation if he were in a better mood. You’ll convince him to have you, you’ll convince him you’re willing, and you’ll make sure he’s pleased with you.” Enjolras struggled, desperately trying to push the man away from him. “And if you fail, if you fail it won’t just be your life that is forfeit. Don’t think I haven’t noticed your friendship with my valet.”

 

Enjolras ceased to struggle, going limp. He did not want to die, and he would not allow anything to happen to Combeferre, especially not because of him.

“Yes, my lord,” he whispered quietly.

 

 

 


 

 

 

There was nothing about this evening that would not be trying but there was one obstacle he had not considered until he was upon it. How exactly was he to approach the prince? It wasn’t as though he could simply walk up and being speaking to him. He was only a servant after all. He watched the man carefully from the side of the room as the guests intermingled between them. The feast had finished and the dancing and socialising had begun. As it turned out he needn’t have worried, Courfeyrac approached him within minutes of him entering the room, telling him that the Prince wished to speak with him.

 

“I thought,” said Prince Grantaire, after Enjolras had bowed low and been given permission to rise, “that Lord Amboise had retired for the evening.”

“He has Your Highness. He sent me back in case I could be of some service.” The lie stuck in his throat but he followed it with the most charming smile he could manage.

“That is fortunate then, since we are in need of another casket of wine and I am in need of someone to serve me while Courfeyrac goes and fetches one.”

“It would be my honour, sire,” Enjolras said, bowing once more.

 

Enjolras quickly took the jug from Courfeyrac and found himself alone behind the prince's chair. He tried to pretend he wasn't shaking.

"So, do you have a name or am I to call you Apollo for how fine your face is?"

"Enjolras, if it pleases you sire." He felt himself blushing. God, how was he ever going to get in the prince’s bed if he acted like this?

"Enjolras," the prince repeated. "It suits you."

"Thank you, sire."

"What do you do for Lord Amboise, Enjolras, apart from pour his wine?"

"Anything my master requires of me, Your Highness."

"Your master? An interesting turn of phrase."

"It is what he prefers. I beg your forgiveness if it offends, sire."

"I am not offended, merely concerned."

"Concerned, sire?"

"Yes, but no matter about that for now. I feel I am ready to retire and Courfeyrac has not yet returned. Will you attend me Enjolras?"

"Of course, sire. It would be my honour," Enjolras replied, a little unsure. The request unnerved him, if only for the fact that it was a request not a command. Since when did princes request things of servant boys?

 

Enjolras followed Prince Grantaire, walking a respectful distance behind him, as was proper. He marvelled at this having been so easy. He was on his way to the prince's bedchamber with no manoeuvring from him at all. He'd almost be at ease if the prince would just stop talking.

"You attended Lord Amboise at the negotiations today, did you not?"

"Yes, sire."

"You did not look pleased with their outcome."

 

Enjolras froze.

"Forgive me, sire. I did not mean to be so disrespectful."

The prince, upon realising that Enjolras was no longer following him, paused as well.

"I see no disrespect. You saw our progress in negotiation and were displeased by it. You merely reacted to that. But I would know why it displeased you so. How much I tax Amboise has no effect on you."

"But of course it does," Enjolras blurted. "Where do you think Lord Amboise's money comes from? The taxes he collects from his serfs. If you raise his taxes he will only raise theirs and they simply cannot afford-" He cut himself off abruptly. "Forgive me, Your Highness. I have entirely forgotten myself."

 

With that he dropped to his knees, quietly panicking. There was no way the prince would bed him now. He was sure to be punished for being disrespectful, and then he would return to his master having failed and his master would kill him and Combeferre, oh God-

 

"Easy, easy,” said the prince, resting his hand on his shoulder and the raising him to his feet. "You have nothing to apologise for. I asked, you merely answered me. I must admit, it was quite an impressive answer. Now, let's carry on shall we? The hour grows late."

"Yes, sire," Enjolras replied meekly. He would not make such a mistake again, he told himself. He would not fail.

 

When they arrived at the prince's chambers Enjolras could not help but stare, half in awe, half in disgust at such opulence.

 

The prince pointed him to where his nightshirts were kept and Enjolras helped him undress. This was it. He had to make his move now. He leaned up and pressed a gentle kiss on the prince's shoulder. He heard the prince's breath catch and held his own. The other man turned around to face him.

 

"What are you doing?"

"I had thought you might like to spend the night doing things other than sleeping, sire."

The prince regarded him carefully. Enjolras could not identify the emotions in his expression but they were not desire or want. His heart fell, had he failed?

"Is anyone forcing you to do this? Your master or anyone else? If they are, you need have no fear. I will see them punished for it. You will not be harmed, I will not allow it."

 

Enjolras was surprised. Not every prince would care for the consent of a servant they wished to bed. He wished he could blurt out the truth, could tell him that he was being forced, that he did not want this, but he couldn't. It wasn't that he didn't believe that the prince would stop this and punish his master, he did. But he could not risk his master’s retaliation afterwards.

 

"No sire, no one is forcing me. I want this."

"You are sure? You can tell me."

"I'm sure, sire."

"You must call me Grantaire, then. I won't have someone I bed bowing and scraping to me."

"As you wish... Grantaire."

"Good."

 

At this Grantaire leant down and bestowed him with a gentle kiss on the lips before beginning to remove his clothes. He backed him gently towards the bed and guided him down to lie on it as he removed the last of Enjolras' clothing. He leant back a moment to contemplate him.

“You are a vision,” he breathed.

"Thank you s- Grantaire."

 

Grantaire moved on to the bed and lay over Enjolras and give him a much more intimate kiss, even pushing his tongue inside, and Enjolras could not help it, he stiffened. Grantaire, of course, noticed.

"Enjolras..." he began warily.

"I'm sorry. It's just... I've never done anything like this before." It wasn't a lie, technically, Enjolras thought. It was just that that wasn't the reason he was hesitant.

"It's ok. We'll go slowly. We don't have to do anything you don't want to. If you don't like anything you can always tell me to stop."

"Ok," Enjolras said, even though he knew that wasn't true. His master had told him to please the prince, so that's what he had to do. It didn't matter if he didn't like it.

 

Grantaire began to kiss Enjolras’ neck and he supposed there was nothing awful about that, but there was nothing particularly appealing about it either.

“Can I mark you,” Grantaire whispered against his neck.

“Yes. Please,” Enjolras sighed, feigning pleasure he did not feel. He did not like the sound of being marked. All the marks he had received in his life had hurt. As expected, so did this one. Grantaire was biting his neck and… sucking? Either way it was unpleasant. He hoped that his gasp of pain could be constituted as pleasure. Grantaire moaned so it seemed he was pleased either way, at least there was that to hold on to. So long as the prince was pleased, Enjolras would not be punished.

 

From his neck the prince worked his way down to Enjolras’ nipples, pressing little kisses as he went. When he reached the nipples he took the right one in his hand and closed this mouth over the left. He started to suck on the left nipples, rolling it with is tongue as he rolled the right with his fingers. That actually felt mildly pleasurable though Enjolras, but that did not ease him. He almost panicked when the prince’s other hand found his member and he realised with a shock of horror that he was half-hard. And only getting harder as Grantaire stroked him. What, was he enjoying this somehow? He felt disgusted with himself. Still, at least the prince would believe he was willing.

 

“Please, Grantaire. Please fuck me.” The urgency in his voice was not faked one bit. He wanted this to be finished so he could forget. Grantaire moaned at the plea and reached over to the side of the bed to grab a flask of oil. Enjolras tried not to panic. At least his rushed breathing and pounding heart could be read as signs of arousal. Grantaire slicked his fingers and rubbed one of them over Enjolras’ entrance.

“Are you certain?” No.

“Yes, please.”

Enjolras felt the finger breach him and tried not to move away. Why did people like this? There was nothing pleasurable about it. He faked moans as the finger moved inside him until one was cut off into a cry when another finger was added. Grantaire ceased all movement immediately.

“Are you alright Enjolras,” he asked urgently. Fuck, this would take some careful convincing.

“Yes. Please don’t stop. Just… allow me a moment to adjust.”

“Of course. But… you’re certain? You don’t want to stop?”

“No, I don’t.”

 

Enjolras forced himself to relax around the fingers. Grantaire was stroking the side of his face and shushing him and strangely enough it was soothing.

“I’m ready now.”

Grantaire began moving his fingers slowly, pressing carefully and while it still didn’t feel all that pleasurable to Enjolras, it had stopped hurting quite so badly. All he felt now was discomfort.

“I’m going to add another finger now, okay?” Enjolras nodded, trying to look eager.

 

Grantaire pushed the third finger in and it didn’t feel as bad as it had before. At least he was prepared this time. After a few minutes Grantaire evidently judged him adequately prepared and removed his fingers, slicking up his cock. He pressed it to Enjolras’ entrance and paused.

“This will likely be a little uncomfortable at first. Are you sure you want to continue? We could always do something else.”

“No, please. Please fuck me. I want it; I need it. Please,” Enjolras begged, doing his best to be as enticing as he could, trying not to show that the very idea left him sick to his stomach. If before had been uncomfortable and Grantaire hadn’t even warned him about that then this part was sure to hurt.

“Hush, hush,” Grantaire whispered. “You don’t need to beg. I just wanted to know you were certain.”

“I am, I am,” Enjolras’ replied, letting some of his impatience show in his voice. He just wanted this over with. Why did the prince insist on drawing it out?

 

Enjolras held his breath as the prince pushed in. He paused after no more than a few inches to let Enjolras adjust and waited for his nod of consent before gently rocking back and forth until he was fully seated inside Enjolras. Truthfully, Enjolras thought, it was not as bad as it could have been. Yes, it was uncomfortable, but it did not really hurt. He had even, he realised as the prince wrapped a hand around it, maintained his erection. He was lucky he supposed. All things considered, the prince was being very gentle with him. There were many who, in his position, would not have been.

 

There was a new sensation beginning which Enjolras could not identify at first. With a shock of disgust he realised that it was pleasure. What, was he enjoying this now? He felt he was being betrayed by his own body. The prince evidently enjoyed it though, he was panting compliments into Enjolras’ neck, likening him to works of art, angels, and gods even.

“-so good. You feel so good. So good for me. I’ve never seen anyone so beautiful as you. Wish I could have you painted. Just like this, so much pleasure in your eyes. Can’t wait to see you come. Do you think you can come for me, Enjolras? Please, please…”

With this he renewed his efforts, moving smoothly but quickly inside him and stroking his cock more quickly. Despite himself, Enjolras felt his release building. As he came he let out a cry that was half pleasure, half despair. He lay there feeling empty as he gave Grantaire permission to carry on and then again to come inside him.

 

The prince lay himself on his side and stroked his fingers over Enjolras’ face as he caught his breath.

“So beautiful,” he whispered when he had. “Will you stay here tonight,” he asked hopefully. Enjolras did not want to. He wanted to hide himself away and pretend that this had never happened but it was obvious that the prince wanted him to stay and he was not allowed to refuse what the prince wanted.

“If you would permit me to, sire.”

“Grantaire,” the prince corrected. “And I would like nothing more.”

 

With this said he pulled Enjolras into an embrace, so that Enjolras was resting his head on his shoulder and was held securely under one of Grantaire’s arms when the man was laid on his back. This on its own, Enjolras thought, wasn’t all that uncomfortable. Had it been in any other situation he might have considered it nice even. All that he wanted now though, was to get away from the man who had, however unknowingly, raped him. And he couldn’t.

 

“How do you feel,” asked Grantaire quietly. “It is not unheard of to feel unsteady, even sad after your first time. Are you alright?”

“I am fine,” he said but he immediately knew that it wasn’t enough. His voice had given him away, it was too tight and it wobbled a little. To his horror he felt his eyes stinging and his breath coming more quickly.

“Shhh, shhhh. It’s alright. You can cry if you want to, whatever you need.”

“Thank you,” sobbed Enjolras. “I’m sorry.”

"Shhh. You don't have to be sorry, it's normal, it's fine."

Enjolras stopped caring and just let Grantaire soothe him for a while. Finally, he calmed down and they both settled down to sleep. He found his rest fitful and uneasy but he didn't dare move too much.

 

 


 

 

 

Enjolras woke suddenly and with a sense of unease when he realised that he wasn't anywhere he recognised. He took a moment to gather himself and he realised that he was in the prince's chambers and that he had been bedded by him last night. And it was getting light outside.

 

He tried to get up as quietly as possible by he still ended up rousing the prince as he looked for his clothes.

"Enjolras," he mumbled sleepily. "What are you doing?"

"I'm sorry, sire. I didn't mean to wake you."

"You are leaving?"

"It is dawn. I must return to my master."

"Surely another hour wouldn't make a difference?"

 

It would, but so would returning having refused the prince something.

"I suppose not, sire."

"And I thought I told you to call me Grantaire," the prince said, smiling.

"Of course."

 

Enjolras returned to the bed and found himself pressed up against the prince once more. And the prince was, well... aroused. He could feel it pressed against his thigh. He took a breath. Well, he supposed it was inevitable anyway. He took the prince in his hand and started to pump.

 

"Ah-," breathed Grantaire. "Are you- you don't have to- oh!"

"I want to," lied Enjolras, forcing a smile on to his face.

 

 


 

 

 

Enjolras expected his master to be furious when he returned. He was over an hour late and Combeferre would have had to attend him on his own this morning. When he entered the room however, his master simply examined him, taking in his ruffled hair and the mark on his neck.

"He had you," he asked.

"Yes, my lord."

"How many times?"

"Twice, my lord. Once last night and once this morning."

"Good. And was he pleased with you?"

"I believe so, master."

"You'd better hope he was. If I find you didn't please him I'll have you whipped bloody, boy."

"Yes, master."

"Does he want to have you again?"

"I- I'm not sure, my lord."

"If he does, you will not refuse. You will do whatever is necessary to keep his affection, do you understand?"

"Yes, master."

"Good, you'll attend me during negotiations again today."

"Yes my lord, but you wished me to prepare your finery for the ball this evening-"

"And now I wish you to attend me! Combeferre will see to that and I don't expect you to question me, boy!" With this he struck Enjolras across the face and turned to leave. Enjolras followed hurriedly.

 

The negotiations were difficult for Enjolras. Anything that required him to hold his tongue was difficult. He was infuriated by these men who bargained with people's lives as though they were nothing.

"-very well, Lord Amboise, but I have a question to put to you in that case. If I lower your taxes, will you then do the same?"

"I am unsure what you mean, sire."

"Most of your income comes from the taxation of the people who live on your land, does it not?"

"Yes, sire."

"I have been informed that these people are taxed to a level that they cannot possibly afford. So, if I lower your taxes, will you then lower theirs?"

"You have been misinformed, sire," said Amboise, his eyes glaring at Enjolras, promising retribution. "My serfs are taxed at a reasonable level. The excess in funds is paid from my personal account. There is no need to lower their taxes."

"Indeed," drawled Grantaire, sarcastically.

 

Enjolras was astounded. The prince had actually listened to him. He'd actually taken into account what Enjolras had to say and cared that people were struggling to survive under his master’s taxation. That was almost worth the punishment he would get for this later.

 

Once the negotiations were finished for the day, Enjolras' master stormed back to his rooms with Enjolras hurrying meekly behind him. Once they were safely inside, his master turned to him to grab him by the collar of his shirt.

"What did you say to him?"

"Nothing but the truth! That you tax your serfs relentlessly without thought for their means or comfort!"

"That's your opinion, boy! And what makes you think that anyone cares about that?"

"He asked!"

"What, the prince asked a servant for his opinions on taxation? Don't be ridiculous!"

His master dragged him over to the bed and pushed him down on it so that he was bent over it. He struggled but ceased when his master leaned over him and whispered in his ear.

"Lie still and take your punishment... unless you'd like Combeferre to take it for you?"

"No. No, please. I'll take it, let me take it. Please."

"Good boy," his master said mockingly as he pulled his trousers down to his knees.

"I'm going to beat you here," he said, stroking a finger over Enjolras' bare behind. "As though you're the disobedient child you acted like today."

 

With that, he took up a wide strip of leather that he kept for these purposes. It was wide enough that it wouldn't break the skin, but it would still hurt. Enjolras shuddered, remembering the times he had felt the thinner ones.

 

The first blow was hard, sudden, and unexpected. Enjolras cried out when it hit. He gained control of himself quickly though, taking the rest of the punishment silently, no matter how hard his master hit. Eventually, what felt like years later, he stopped. Enjolras lay still on the bed apart from the faint tremors which ran through his body. His master rested his hand on Enjolras’ red behind, feeling the heat coming from it.

"God, I wish I could have you right now. Such a shame that I may have to send you off to the prince later and I cannot. I doubt he'd take well to having you sent to him all used up. Never mind, he'll be done with you eventually and then you'll be all mine." His master laughed. "Perhaps he'll even appreciate the state you're in and take to whipping you himself."

He gave Enjolras one last harsh slap on his reddened behind and then turned away.

"The ball tonight is in an hour," he called over his shoulder. "Send Combeferre to attend to me and go make yourself presentable. I assume you do not want to be whipped tonight for failing to catch the prince's attention?"

"No, my lord."

"Smart boy."

 

 


 

 

 

The ball was in full swing and Enjolras was slowly becoming more terrified by the moment. The prince kept glancing towards him but he made no move to approach Enjolras and it wasn't as though Enjolras could just approach him himself. He had to stay in his assigned place unless he was given an errand to run.

 

He spent the entire night worrying but ultimately Grantaire approached him as the ball was ending.

"Would you like to accompany me to my chambers again tonight, Enjolras?"

"If it would please you, sire."

"I would only have you come if it pleases you as well."

"A mere expression, sire. It does please me."

"Good. And I thought I asked you to call me Grantaire?"

"But we are in public. I will get in trouble."

"From who? I am the prince. There is no one I cannot protect you from."

But there was.

"Please. Just in public, that is not so terrible, surely?"

"Very well," Grantaire sighed. "If that makes you feel more comfortable."

 

They set off to Grantaire's chambers without further dispute. When they arrived Courfeyrac was already there turning down the sheets on the bed.

"Thank you Courfeyrac, but I've no need of your assistance tonight."

"Are you sure, Grantaire? Enjolras here looks like he could be a two man job," he said flirtatiously. Enjolras froze. Surely he would not have to bed to both of them? He wasn't sure he could bear that.

"I think I managed quite adequately last night, thank you, and I'm sure I can do so again."

"Only adequately," Courfeyrac teased, but he was looking at Enjolras with something close to concern. "You need to step up your game, sire."

"More than adequately," said Enjolras, hoping to get that look off of Courfeyrac's face. He couldn't be found out now. His master would be furious. Plus it had the benefit of flattering Grantaire, which could be nothing but good for him.

"See? More than adequate. Now get along, Courfeyrac. If you hurry you might be able to catch that kitchen girl you like. I'm sure you could charm her into your bed."

"Marie, yes. You might be right. Well, wish me luck, boys." He winked and then left, but not before throwing one more concerned look at Enjolras.

 

"I swear, he's incapable of not flirting with everything with a pulse," Grantaire said, so fondly that the affection in his voice startled Enjolras. "I hope he didn't embarrass you”

"He didn't."

"Good."

 

Grantaire moved closer and took him in his arms. He pressed a soft kiss to his mouth and that was... nice actually. It was nothing like the kiss last night which had felt demanding. This was a kiss for its own sake rather than a push for something more. Grantaire slowly began to kiss his way down his neck, stopping when he reached the mark he had left yesterday. He placed the lightest possible kiss on it.

"Does it hurt," he whispered against Enjolras' neck and Enjolras did not know what the correct answer was. Grantaire did not seem like the type of person who liked to cause pain, but he could not know for sure. For lack of a better option he decided to tell the truth.

"A little. Nothing unbearable."

"Good. I would not hurt you."

 

He led Enjolras over so that the backs of his legs pressed against the bed. He began removing his clothing so Enjolras did the same. When they were both naked Grantaire gently pressed him down to lay on the bed. It was only when he felt his sore behind make contact with the bed that he realised that the marks from his punishment earlier would still be showing. He wondered if he could lie so that it would not be visible to Grantaire. He did not know whether he wanted to hide it from him because he would be upset, or because he would be aroused. Grantaire had said that he would not hurt him, but his master had thought it would be possible. He did not know.

"Here, spread your legs for me," Grantaire whispered.

But he couldn't, if he did then Grantaire would see. But if he didn't then he couldn't give Grantaire what he wanted and he would know something was wrong. He would have to do it and hope Grantaire wouldn't care. He spread his legs. Grantaire froze and Enjolras held his breath.

"Enjolras," he breathed and oh god-, what did that mean? Was he aroused by it? Please, no. He couldn't stand being whipped again today.

"Who did this to you," Grantaire asked, angrily enough that Enjolras was scared into honesty.

"My master," he blurted out.

"Your- he cannot do this to you!"

"Of course he can," contradicted Enjolras, confused as to why that would even be questioned. "I was disrespectful and he punished me for it."

"You are not a slave, Enjolras! No matter what he has you call him, he is your employer, not your master. You have rights and he cannot whip you no matter what he feels you have done!"

"But he can! It may not be legal, and it may not be right, but nobody will care what happens to a servant boy. Besides, it's my word against his and no one would believe me."

"I care. I'll make him stop."

"You can't."

"I'm a prince, soon to be a king. If I order him to he'll have to stop."

"Yes but then I'll lose my job. He'd get rid of me in a second."

"Come and work here, for me."

 

Enjolras' blood ran cold. Work for the prince, be no more than his personal whore. He couldn't do that.

"No, no please. Just don't do anything. Please," Enjolras begged.

"Alright, if that is what you want," Grantaire said, looking slightly hurt.

"It is. Thank you." Enjolras reached up of his own accord and pressed a kiss to Grantaire's mouth. Time to distract him.

"Fuck me," he whispered into his ear, trying to sound as seductive as he could. Grantaire groaned.

"Are you sure? You've had a difficult day."

"Yes, please. Make me forget."

"Then I propose a different arrangement. You will be too sore from yesterday, and it would hurt anyway since you've been whipped. I think I have a better idea."

"Whatever you want."

"Here." Grantaire flipped them over so that Enjolras was on top. Then he pulled Enjolras down into another kiss and rolled his hips up against Enjolras', rubbing their cocks together. Enjolras supposed it wasn't overly unpleasant this way, but he still did not see the appeal. It felt pleasurable but it was also awkward and messy. He was not sure he would ever like this, even if he wasn't being forced to do it.

 

Grantaire came with one last roll of his hips and took Enjolras in hand, forcing him to come too. Enjolras rolled to he was laying on his back beside Grantaire as he caught his breath. Before long Grantaire had wrapped him in his arms so that he was positioned with his head against the prince's chest, listening to his heart rate slow down and reach a steady rhythm.

"Will you stay here tonight," Grantaire asked at length.

"Yes, of course."

They were quiet for a while longer.

"Tell me about the lives of the peasants where you are from. It sounds as though their situation is dire."

Enjolras knew it would get him in trouble, but there was a chance that Grantaire might actually listen to him and make the changes necessary for them to survive. He could not give that up, not even to avoid punishment.

 

"It is true, their situation is dire. My master taxes them relentlessly for the right to live and work on his land. They have no money left to buy necessities. Combeferre and I take old blankets from my lord’s estate and distribute them. He would throw them away but we repurpose them. And they do not have enough food. They farm my master’s land and raise his livestock but he does not allow them to keep enough of the produce to live comfortably, he sells most of it. There homes barely shelter them but they have no money to improve them and they must work such long hours that they are exhausted, which makes the susceptible to illness. Of course, they must work when they are ill or they will have no food."

"That is monstrous! And Amboise lets this happen?"

"He is the cause of it."

"I swear to you Enjolras, I will find a way to help."

"I believe you" said Enjolras, and found that it was actually true.

 

 


 

 

 

The next day was awful for Enjolras. He woke up with a pounding headache, so bad that he could barely see, and his master was in a foul mood due to the ongoing lack of progress in negotiations. He was demanding and harsh, and by the time Enjolras was summoned to Grantaire's quarters he felt as though his head was being split open.

 

The prince looked concerned the moment Enjolras walked through the door. He quickly rushed forward and took Enjolras in his arms.

"What is the matter," he cried. "Are you unwell?" The prince's loud voice made Enjolras flinch as agony lanced through his head, but he forced himself to smile and reply to Grantaire.

"Nothing is the matter; I am fine."

"Do not lie to me. You are clearly unwell."

"I assure you, I am fine," replied Enjolras, trying to lean up and kiss Grantaire, who stopped him with a hand placed gently on his shoulder.

"Enjolras, you're as pale as a ghost. Lay down." With this he guided him towards the bed.

"But-"

"But what- you cannot possibly wish for me to take you to bed when you're in this condition." He gently guided Enjolras to lay down on the bed, under the covers.

"I suppose not, but surely I should go back to my own quarters then."

"I won’t stop you if that is what you want to do, but I would very much like it if you would let me take care of you."

 

Enjolras was confused but staying here would mean he might get some rest, whereas if he went to his own quarters his master would probably find some work for him to do and punish him for not bedding Grantaire besides.

"As you wish."

"Good, now have you eaten today?"

"No, I have no appetite."

"You should eat, you'll feel better once you have. What is your favourite food?"

"I- I do not know. Potato broth I suppose."

"That is your favourite? Out of everything," Grantaire asked faintly.

"Yes. I like potatoes better than carrots. Turnips are not bad I suppose." Enjolras didn't really see why it mattered, but Grantaire was looking upset now. He must not have answered right.

"But, of course I'll eat whatever you wish, sire." Grantaire sighed.

"Enjolras when I ask you for your opinion, it's not because I am trying to trick you or trap you. It's because I want to know."

"Why," Enjolras demanded suddenly. "Why do you care what I think or what I like?"

"Because I care about you," Grantaire replied, calmly.

 

That brought Enjolras up short. He did not know what to say.

"Now lie back down and I'll have Courfeyrac bring you some potato broth. Then we can go to sleep and hopefully you'll feel better tomorrow."

 

To Enjolras’ surprise, that is exactly what happened. Grantaire sent for the food, and once he’d made sure that Enjolras had eaten it he got into bed with him and just held him. All night. Enjolras was confused to say the least. Why would the prince look after him and expect nothing in return. He’d said that he cared for him; could that possibly be true?

 

 


 

 

When he woke up before dawn the next morning Enjolras wasn’t even confused to find himself in the prince’s bed. What’s more, while Grantaire held him quite closely in his arms, he wasn’t even aroused. Enjolras took the time to look over Grantaire’s face while the prince was asleep. He was rather good looking actually, when one got past the wild hair and general unkempt appearance. Although Enjolras found that he rather liked that anyway, it looked nice on him. And surprisingly enough, he found that he wanted Grantaire to wake up. He actually wanted the man’s company. He leaned in carefully and pressed a kiss to Grantaire’s mouth, causing him to stir.

 

“I have to say,” he mumbled, blinking sleepily, “out of all the ways I’ve been woken up, that one has to be my favourite.”

“I shall be sure to inform Courfeyrac,” Enjolras teased.

“Not on your life! If you told him that he’d take it as an excuse to wake me up with his mouth around my cock every morning.” Enjolras blushed at the bold statement. Grantaire stroked a knuckle over his bright red cheek and then laughed.

“Did I embarrass you?”

“No, I was just thinking… I could do that for you. If you want.” Enjolras found that he actually did want to, that he wanted to see Grantaire’s face twisted with pleasure that he had been the cause of.

“What? Suck me? You want to do that?” Enjolras nodded shyly.

“I’ve never done it before though.”

“I know, I’ll show you how, if you’re sure you want to.”

“I am.”

 

When they got to it Enjolras was sure that Grantaire had had better, but Enjolras didn’t catch him with his teeth or push too far down and choke so he thought he was passable at least. Grantaire certainly seemed happy with his skills. The prince’s face was a picture of ecstasy and he was looking down at Enjolras at though he were some sort of holy relic that ought to be worshipped.

“Oh, fuck. Fuck Enjolras. I- I’m going to-”

Enjolras pulled off quickly and finished Grantaire with his hand. Yes, he liked seeing the other man’s pleasure, but he didn’t want to swallow his seed. The idea made him feel vaguely ill.

 

He liked to look at Grantaire afterwards, when he was all relaxed and dishevelled. He looked so content and happy. At length Grantaire pulled himself together.

“What about you,” he said. “What do you want?”

“Nothing. I just wanted to watch you.”

“You are sure? I’d be more than happy to-”

“I’m sure. Although-” Here he stopped and looked down, shy once more.

“Yes? Whatever you want, Enjolras. Name it and it’s yours.”

“Would you perhaps… hold me? Just until the sun comes up and I have to go.”

“Of course. I’d like nothing more."

 

They lay there until they were interrupted by a knock on the door.

"Come in," Grantaire called. Courfeyrac entered.

"I have the food you wanted," he said, grinning from ear to ear.

"Food," Enjolras asked, confused and still a bit sleepy. It was early after all.

"Bring it in, Courfeyrac. You can put it on the table." He ignored Enjolras' question for the moment. He wanted to explain when everything was ready.

 

Enjolras watched in amazement as dish after dish was brought by a parade of men in a seemingly never-ending line and placed on the table. Eventually everything was in place and Grantaire dismissed the men. He turned to Enjolras, with a huge grin on his face, his eyes alight with excitement. Enjolras secretly thought that he looked rather childlike when he was excited.

"I had Courfeyrac organise this last night. I got the impression that you haven't experienced a large variety of food. Have you even ever eaten meat before?"

Enjolras shook his head mutely, too shocked to speak. Grantaire suddenly looked hesitant.

"Have I pleased you?"

"This is far too much food for two people." Grantaire's face fell minutely.

"Whatever isn't eaten will be distributed to the poor in the city along with the usual bread we give out."

Enjolras nodded. "You have been very thoughtful then." He smiled.

"You are pleased then," Grantaire asked, his smile coming back a little.

"Yes," Enjolras said, smiling back at him.

"I'm glad. What would you like to try first?" He took Enjolras' hand and pulled him from the bed and over to the table. Enjolras looked overwhelmed at the choice.

"Which... which one is your favourite," he asked Grantaire, hesitantly.

"The duck in orange sauce."

"Then that one, please."

 

Grantaire fed Enjolras a bite of the dish himself and watched his face as he tasted meat for the first time. He was not disappointed.

 

Enjolras' eyes widened as he tasted the food. He looked like a child who'd just been given a present for the first time. Grantaire looked no less pleased. He was glad to give Enjolras something which had been denied to him by circumstance.

"You like it," he asked, just to be certain.

"It's- it's wonderful." His eyes were still wide and Grantaire was practically bouncing with excitement.

"Good, try this one," he said, pointing to a joint of beef that had been soaked in beer and then cooked.

 

And so it went on, Grantaire offering more and more things to try. His favourite was when they got to the desserts though, and he had Enjolras try chocolate for the first time. Enjolras' eyes lit up and he smiled as though he had never tasted anything so wonderful. Grantaire wanted Enjolras to be so happy every day.

 

He found that Enjolras loved anything that was either sweet or spicy and he decided from the look on Enjolras' face when he tried them that he would give Enjolras this, and any luxury that he could convince him to accept as often as he could. Grantaire had to admit that he was charmed even with the screwed up expression on Enjolras' face when he came across something he didn't like. Usually it was something sour that caused this expression, particularly lemons.

 

He knew that his feelings for Enjolras were more than just sexual. He reacted so passionately to every injustice. He was so fervent he almost glowed with the force of his belief. That is, until he caught himself and remembered that according to his "master" he wasn't supposed to have opinions.

 

Grantaire would like nothing more than to take Enjolras away from Amboise and make sure that he never had to lay eyes on the man again. And preferably leave him to rot in the dungeons in the process. He wouldn't do that without Enjolras' consent, however. To keep Enjolras against his will, even if that was what's best for him, would make him no better than Amboise himself. What was worse is that he could do that so easily. It made his blood boil that his position meant that he could take Enjolras against his will, literally hold him prisoner, and no one would protest because he was a prince and Enjolras was just a servant boy.

 

He shook himself and cleared such pessimistic thoughts from his mind, focusing on Enjolras' delighted expression every time he tried some new delicacy.

 

 


 

 

 

Enjolras went about his daily duties in a much better mood than he remembered having been in in a while. Grantaire wasn't at all like he'd thought he was. He'd seemed uncaring first, no more than a spoiled prince. Now, however, Enjolras had seen that his carefree attitude was just that, an attitude, a persona. He was actually incredibly kind and caring. He cared about Courfeyrac as a friend, not just a servant. He cared about the peasants on Amboise's land and he wanted to help them. He cared about Enjolras and whether or not he actually wanted to have sex with him; Enjolras knew that. It was just that his master could be so cruel, and there was no telling what he would do to Enjolras once Grantaire had punished him.

 

Anyway, his situation could be much worse. He barely even minded the sex anymore. Grantaire was always gentle with him, never hurt him. And he always looked so happy afterwards, so relaxed and calm, and Enjolras loved that. He loved that he could make Grantaire happy like that. And afterwards, when they were done, Grantaire cuddled him and held him close like he was something precious and valuable. Enjolras loved that more than anything.

 

 

 


 

 

Weeks upon weeks passed like that and Grantaire felt himself become more and more enamoured with Enjolras every day. He couldn't bear the thought of him leaving with Amboise and he hoped desperately that he would be able to find a way to make him stay. He'd do whatever it took. He'd beg if it was necessary, if that's what Enjolras wanted.

 

He shuddered as he remembered Enjolras' reaction the last time he had suggested it. The boy had been horrified but Grantaire couldn't figure out why. Was it that he did not wish to work at the palace? Was something about that distressing? If so, he need not worry. Grantaire was beyond rich and more than ready to support Enjolras if he did not wish to work. He would happily buy Enjolras anything his heart desired, but Enjolras had always seemed strangely reluctant to take things from him and did not seem to have an aversion to work. So it did not seem as though that was a problem.

 

Perhaps then the problem was Grantaire? That would make much more sense, Grantaire thought bitterly. Perhaps Enjolras only wished for this to be a temporary relationship, not long term as Grantaire longed for. If that was the case then Grantaire would hap- well, not happily stay away from him, but willingly certainly. So long as Enjolras consented to stay here, where he would be safe and happy, where Grantaire would know he was near, and not with the awful man he called his master. Anything to make Enjolras stay.

 

 

His troubled musings were interrupted by Courfeyrac entering the room, despite the fact that Grantaire hadn't called for him, with a distressed expression on his face.

"What's wrong," he asked, immediately concerned. Courfeyrac rarely lacked a smile.

"I have something I must discuss with you, my friend." They never bothered with formalities when they were both alone.

"It's about Enjolras. I fear he is not as willing as he professes to be." Grantaire felt a cold rush of horror overtake him at the thought.

"What makes you say that," he asked, sounding rather choked.

"I became concerned the other night, with how he reacted to my teasing. He seemed genuinely concerned that he would have to bed me but then he joked back so I wasn't sure. All the same, I went to speak to Combeferre, Amboise's valet and Enjolras' friend. He had the same concern. We strongly suspect that Amboise is forcing Enjolras to bed you."

"But I told him! The first night and many times since! I asked him if anyone was forcing him and told him that I'd see them punished if they were."

"From what Combeferre said, Amboise is a very cruel and frightening figure. It may be that Enjolras was too afraid of him. Perhaps he thought your punishment of Amboise would only be temporary?"

"The hell it will be! I'll make sure that bastard never goes near Enjolras again. I'll make sure he lives every day in agony for this."

"Calm yourself," Courfeyrac said soothingly. "It may be that it isn't true. You should speak with Enjolras. Perhaps he is willing after all." Here he smiled and looked a little more like himself.

"You're right, I should speak with him. Have him come here, would you?"

"Of course," Courfeyrac said smiling gently.

 

 


 

 

 

“Is it not a little early in the day for you to be calling for me," Enjolras asked teasingly as he entered Grantaire's rooms. The grin on his face fell however, when he saw the expression on Grantaire's.

"What's the matter?"

"Enjolras, I must ask you something, and I would beg you to tell me the truth."

"Of course, anything."

"Is Amboise forcing you to bed me?"

 

Enjolras' blood ran cold. He couldn’t tell the truth, but he didn't want to lie to Grantaire. It wasn't fair to him to lie. He gathered his resolve.

"Yes."

 

Grantaire felt his horror return tenfold. How had he not seen? His mind supplied every time that Enjolras had seemed the least bit unwilling and it seemed so glaringly obvious now.

"I am so sorry Enjolras," he whispered.

"No," Enjolras said with surprising force. "It is not your fault. You did not know." Grantaire remained silent because he knew he should have known.

"Why did you not tell me?" Grantaire looked so hurt and so, so sad.

"I couldn't, I'm sorry. I was scared."

"You didn't trust me? I wouldn't have let him hurt you. I won't let him hurt you. I'll see him punished for this."

"Don't. Please, sire. You don't know how cruel he can be."

“Sire? Are we back to that?"

"I had assumed that since I am no longer your lover I have lost the privilege calling you by your name."

"I had thought you held some form of affection for me. Was that too part of the act?"

No, but I assumed this would be the end of our arrangement."

"Is that what you want?"

"What does it matter what I want? The question is, will you still take me to bed Your Highness?"

"No. Not when you are not willing." He wanted Enjolras to never have to fear that again. Still, Enjolras' face fell.

"I understand, Your Highness. May I ask you one small favour?"

"Anything." Grantaire would do anything to help make this right.

"Do you think you might pretend to my master that you simply grew bored of me? He might be more merciful that way. He might only hurt me and not Combeferre." Ahhh, that must be why Enjolras looked upset. He still thought he would be punished.

"Enjolras, I do not think you understand. When I said I would not allow him to hurt you, I meant that whether you are in my bed or not."

"I appreciate your kindness, sire. I know you would not willingly let anyone be hurt, but you cannot protect me from him forever. He is my master."

"Not anymore he isn't. Do you honestly think I'm going to let him get away with forcing you to lie with me against your will? I'll have him arrested immediately and have him stripped of his lands and titles so he can't hurt anyone else!"

"On what grounds? Ordering a servant around?"

"On the grounds of not paying his taxes! You must know he hasn't paid the full amount in years!" Enjolras did, but that wasn't the point.

"And what about his serfs, his servants? If he is no longer our lord then we have lost all means of livelihood!"

"The serfs can live and farm on the land tax free until such time as Lord Amboise's estates and titles are gifted to another. You, Combeferre, and all the other servants are free to take on employment here at the palace, if you wish."

 

Grantaire held his breath, remembering Enjolras' reaction at this offer the last time he had made it. Enjolras himself looked rather stunned.

"That is very kind of you, sire."

"Does that mean you'll accept," Grantaire asked hopefully. Enjolras nodded silently.

 

 


 

 

 

It was all done rather quickly after that. Amboise was dragged from his rooms kicking and screaming and thrown into the dungeons until Grantaire decided what to do with him. His servants seemed overjoyed with their change of employment and word had been sent to the serfs, now simply peasants, who live on what had been Amboise’s land.

 

Enjolras was given a position in the kitchens, which he took to with alacrity, of not a great deal of skill. Grantaire admitted to himself privately that the reason Enjolras had been given that position was so that Grantaire would not see him. He felt crippled with guilt every time he so much as caught a glimpse of Enjolras. Enjolras, the man he loved, who he had raped. He felt as though he would vomit every time he thought about it. Yet, he still had the audacity to miss him. Every moment he was so close to sending for him, just to have him close. It did not matter if all Enjolras did was rail against him for his cruelty, for the wrongs he had done to him. He would like that better even, for then he might not feel as though the guilt was choking him. He would like anything better than this hollow absence. He restrained himself though. He forced himself to consider Enjolras’ feelings on the matter. For once, he thought to himself bitterly. The poor boy would surely want nothing to do with Grantaire now, and he should respect that and allow him to stay far, far away from him. Knowing it did not make actually doing any easier.

 

He took to drinking far more than he had before, and he could see Courfeyrac watching him worriedly. The days dragged on until it had been weeks since he had even glimpsed Enjolras and Courfeyrac entered his chambers one evening, yet again with a worried expression on his face, giving him déjà vu.

“What is it,” he asked resignedly.

“Combeferre asks if he might be permitted to speak with you.”

“Who?”

“Combeferre, Enjolras’ friend. The one with whom I spoke about Amboise forcing Enjolras?”

“What does he want,” Grantaire asked, rather fearfully.

“He said it was about Enjolras.”

“Let him in,” Grantaire replied urgently.

 

Combeferre was lead in by Courfeyrac, and although he bowed and made the usual show of deference, Grantaire caught an air of collected displeasure around him which intimidated him. Before Grantaire could ask, Combeferre began to speak.

“I have come to speak with you, sire, because I am worried about Enjolras. Since your arrangement has been discontinued he has been very melancholic and I fear for his health. I would ask that you speak with him and resolve what it is that happened between the two of you.”

“You know that I raped him, do you not? I am sure that the last person he would want to see.” At this, Combeferre softened.

“You are not culpable for that, and he does not blame you. You did not know.”

“I have no doubt that I am as much to blame as Amboise. I should have seen he was not willing.”

“Perhaps,” said Combeferre. “However, you are remorseful, you feel guilty. I have no doubt that Amboise does not and I do not think Enjolras blames you. I beg you, sire, speak with him. You owe him that at least.”

“I owe him a great deal more than that. I owe him everything. Very well. Ask him to come here and make it clear that he has every right to refuse. There’s another matter that needs seeing to if he decides to come, anyway.”

“Yes, sire.”

 

After Combeferre had left, Grantaire turned to Courfeyrac.

“Have Amboise brought here from the dungeons.”

 

 


 

 

 

When Enjolras entered Grantaire’s rooms, he was rather confused by what he saw. Grantaire was there, of course, but so was his mas- Amboise, in chains and kneeling between two guards.

“What’s going on,” Enjolras asked.

“There is a matter we should take care of, and then you and I should speak if you are amenable.”

“Of course, sire.” Hearing this Grantaire winced. He did not know whether Enjolras actually wished to stay or if he was simply agreeing because Grantaire was his prince and technically he had no right to refuse.

“The matter is simple. Amboise must be punished, and who better to choose his punishment than the victim of his crime?”

"There was no victim," snarled Amboise.

"Oh, make no mistake," said Grantaire, cheerfully. "The reason given for your imprisonment was not paying your taxes, but the actual reason was what you forced Enjolras to do. He was the victim, and he will decide your punishment."

"I will not submit to the judgement of a servant boy."

"You will; you have no choice but to do so or you will only worsen your punishment."

"Boy," Amboise barked at Enjolras, looking as menacing as he could from the ground. "You will tell him to release me or you will suffer the consequences."

"I- I don't- I can't-" Enjolras stammered, looking completely overwhelmed, and not a little frightened. Grantaire took him aside gently.

 

"Enjolras," he said quietly. "You don't have to if you don't want to. I merely hoped to give you some power over the man who has hurt you so terribly. I will admit, I also wanted him to know that you have such power over him now. I would like to see him beg at your feet, if not for forgiveness then for mercy, but that is at your discretion. Would you like to decide his fate?" Enjolras nodded mutely.

"Then know that he cannot harm you; he has no power over you anymore. I would ask that at the very least you have him imprisoned for life. Other than that his sentence is yours to decide."

"I know not what to do. I have no experience with such things."

"Then perhaps you will permit me to make suggestions for you to choose from? I must admit I have given the matter some thought."

"Yes, that would be helpful."

"There is always a death sentence. A certain way to make sure you are always safe. You could have him punished by suffering through the same thing you did, bedding someone against your will," here Enjolras paled so Grantaire moved along quickly, cursing himself. "Have him whipped, see how he likes being on the other end of it-"

"Yes, that one. Every day, at various times, let him not know when, at what time it will come. Let him live in fear of it, as we did for so many years." Grantaire grinned.

"A fitting punishment. Would you like to inform him or should I?"

"You should do it. He'll listen if it comes from you."

 

 


 

 

 

As predicted Amboise begged for mercy as soon as he heard his punishment. He took up the bottom of Grantaire's robes and snivelled into it. Grantaire watched coldly for a while before kicking him away.

"If you would ask for mercy then beg Enjolras. I have already told you it is he who decides your fate."

 

Amboise ostensibly steeled himself before crawling to Enjolras feet. He pressed a kiss to the toe of his shoe before uttering a broken "please...”

 

Enjolras drew himself up to his full height, and never had he looked more like a god than now, Grantaire mused. It was not the benevolent kind of god he resembled, no, now he looked nothing short of wrathful.

"You have never once showed Combeferre or I any mercy, no matter how we begged for it and now you dare to ask me for it? You are not only cruel, you are a coward, and I pity myself for ever fearing you. Still, I refuse to acquire the traits which I despise in you. You'll only be imprisoned, a much kinder fate than you deserve."

 

Grantaire had been wrong. Enjolras was a god, yes, but a merciful one. Even to those who did not deserve his mercy.

"Take him away." Grantaire muttered to the guards, not looking away from Enjolras as they left the room.

 

"You are not disappointed," Enjolras asked, hesitantly.

"No, I am in awe."

"At what?"

"At you. That you would show him mercy after all he has done to hurt you."

"I have no need of vengeance."

"You amaze me." Enjolras ducked his head shyly, then his gaze sobered and he looked up.

"I should leave, sire, if you have no more need of me?"

"Stay a while, if you would. There is something I must discuss with you."

"What is that?"

"Combeferre came to see me earlier. He is concerned about you. He says you have been sad of late. I would know if there is anything I can do to help? Anything at all." Enjolras face fell and he looked down.

"It's not simply something I can... get over. I'm sorry if it's affecting my work; I'll try to do better but I need time to forget and move on." Grantaire felt him heart break. Enjolras was haunted by what he'd done to him. God, what if he never recovered from it? What if he had irreparably wounded the one person he loved above all else?

 

"I am so sorry. I can never say that enough. Is there anything I can do? Anything that I can give you to help make this better for you?" Enjolras looked angry all of a sudden.

"Why do you care," he burst out. "Why do you want to help? I do not understand!"

"I have already told you once, have I not," Grantaire replied sadly. "Would you have me say it more plainly? Very well. I wish to help you in any way I can because you played your part very well, Enjolras. I love you! I am in love with you and there is nothing I can do about it!" Enjolras looked confused.

"You love me?"

"Yes."

"Then I do not understand. Why did you send me away?" Grantaire laughed bitterly.

"I know you must think me a monster but I would never knowingly rape you. Nor would I force you to spend time with me against your will."

"I think there has been some misunderstanding," Enjolras said, slowly.

"How so?"

"It was merely the activity of having sex which I did not like, and even that came to have more appeal. I enjoy your company very much. The reason I have been sad of late is because you sent me away." Grantaire stared in shock.

"Enjolras are you- are you saying that you would consent to spend time with me, even now that your well-being does not depend on it."

"Yes, I would like that very much, if you would permit it, sire."

"Permit it? God, Enjolras. I would gladly beg for it on bended knee, if that would please you." Enjolras smiled.

"There is no need for that. As I said, I enjoy spending time with you."

"And- and do you mean that as a friend, or as more than that? Either is fine," he continued hurriedly. "Simply being in your presence is enough for me."

"As more I think. I cannot say that I love you as you do me, but I do have romantic feelings for you, perhaps I will come to love you."

"I would very much like to kiss you now, if you would let me."

 

Enjolras knew now that were he to indicate that that wasn't what he wanted then that would be the end of it, Grantaire would never try to kiss him again, but he found that he did wish to kiss Grantaire.

"I would like that very much," he said, smiling and leaning forwards himself.

 

They shared a gentle, sweet kiss, Grantaire not daring to deepen it and Enjolras not wanting to. After a few moments they parted.

"Enjolras, I want you to know. I am perfectly happy having any sort of relationship you wish, without sex. I never want you to feel afraid or forced again."

"Thank you, but I don't mind having sex. I don't have any particular interest in it but I don't mind it. I like how happy it makes you."

"I don't feel comfortable having sex that you are not entirely enjoying. I'm sorry."

"No, as I said. It holds no interest for me." Enjolras leaned forwards and kissed him. They did not stop for quite a while.

 

Eventually Grantaire pulled back.

"There is one more matter we should discuss. I have given some thought as to who Amboise's lands and titles should be given to and I should like to give them to you."

"To me," Enjolras asked, stunned. "I know nothing about being a lord."

"Perhaps not, but you know a great deal about being a good man, and that is much more important. Consider it, at least. Think of how you could help the people who live on those lands."

"I- I suppose I accept."

"Excellent. We'll do all the official business tomorrow, but I would like to request you stay at court."

"As though I would leave," scoffed Enjolras.

"Yes well, if you were to leave who would I have to kiss me and tell me when I am wrong?"

"It is a very serious responsibility," said Enjolras mock gravely.

"You should be sure to attend to it," Grantaire laughed. "In seriousness though, I would have you be my advisor for now, and later on, once my father has passed, I would have you sit on a council with me, which will discuss the problems that arise and make decisions collectively."

"I think that sounds very fair."

 

And so it was. The peasants were much happier under Enjolras' rule than Amboise's and when the time came for Grantaire to take the throne, he did so fairly, listening to his council and taking their advice. As it turned out Grantaire never married and left no heir, and the people found that the council worked so well that he was the last king of that land. And why did he have no children? Well, he was perfectly content with what he already had with Enjolras, of course.