this fic was an exercise in self indulgence. nobody ever ASKED for a Sky High au but i went and delivered anyway. youre welcome.
extensive knowledge of Sky High is not necessarily needed to understand this work. all you need to know is that superpowers happen sometimes and theres a high school for it that trains heroes or sidekicks.
i hope you have fun reading!!!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“We’ve written a script,” Is the first thing Bossuet tells Grantaire when he gets on the bus.
“Good morning to you too,” Grantaire plops down next to Joly. Then his sleep deprived brain catches up. “Wait you’ve what?”
“They’ve written a script,” Musichetta turns around from where she’s next to Bossuet, offering no further information other than the fact that she has no part of whatever Joly and Bossuet are doing this time.
“Okay, it’s not really a script,” Joly says. The bus lurches into motion, and Grantaire pats around, looking for the seatbelt before anything unfortunate happens. “We mostly just have like, an orchestrated plan.”
“For what?” He asks, obviously still missing an important piece of information.
“Power placement,” Musichetta says. “They wrote a script—”
“—an orchestrated plan.”
“—An orchestrated plan for the Power Placement test.”
“I mean,” Bossuet starts while Grantaire fumbles with the seatbelt. Two years of being on this shitty bus and he still can’t figure out the seatbelts. “We’re all shoe ins for Hero Support, so might as well have fun with the test. Add some theatricality to this mix. Some pizzazz.”
“I didn’t know that was today,” He grumbles. A sinking feeling starts. “Do you have any extra parts to play?
“Sorry, we’re all out.” Joly tells him very solemnly. “Feuilly already called dibs on busting out the lights.”
“Ah,” Grantaire says in the way that actually means he’s worried for the safety of his friends. “Now I’m curious. What the hell is the plan?”
“Secret.” Joly and Bossuet say in perfect unison.
“Aw, come on.” Grantaire says, partly for the secrecy, but mostly because his seatbelt sucks. The bus is nearing the end of the highway and Grantaire still hasn’t gotten them on. By this point, he’s resigned himself to getting brained on the side of the window. It’s happened before. He can probably take it.
“You won’t be able to win. They won’t even tell me.” Musichetta says. “And it’s too far in the future for me see it.”
Joly leans over to click the seatbelt in place for him. “Thanks, dude.” Grantaire sighs.
The bus driver kicks it in into gear and the bus is in the sky, lurching Grantaire back into the seat he is so gratefully strapped into. Sadly, it’s doing the exact opposite of helping the Monday headache he’s got. And that’s already mixing in with the beginnings of a shitty mood. Sure, the whole flying bus thing was fun at first, but it lost its novelty right around the point Grantaire realized that, Powered or not, high school still sucks. The general aura of disgruntled student suffering overrode the initial awe, which, in a nutshell, is what the whole experience is about. The process usually takes until sophomore year, but Grantaire was an overachiever in cynicism, thus achieving it in his first two weeks.
“Christ,” Grantaire says when the thing finally lands. “Why can’t this fucking place be on the ground.”
“Ground High isn’t as catchy,” Joly clicks his seatbelt open for him, saving Grantaire the embarrassment of trying to do it himself. “Plus this way, if we accidentally get blown up for whatever reason, there’s less collateral damage.”
“But, dude, if we blew up we’d turn into meteors,” Bossuet says while Grantaire squints at the other students who are using their oh so fantastic powers here and there. “Impact would be deadly.”
“Hey, you alright?” Musichetta slings her arm around his neck while Joly and Bossuet start talking about meteor impact. “You’re looking a bit out of it.”
“Yeah,” He tries to shrug off Musichetta’s arm, but she’s basically a cuddle octopus missing six arms. That, and Grantaire is a sap who actually likes contact, so he’s not trying all that hard. “I’m fine.”
“Did you drink water today?” Joly breaks away from meteors, squinting at Grantaire. “Or did you just drink coffee and forget to drink water because you insist on it being a suitable substitute?”
“Sure,” He says because that’s exactly what he did.
“R,” Musichetta says. And she’s staring him down with a look.
“It’s nothing, oh my god.” He says, but the more he evades, the more he worries his friends. Goddamnit. “It’s just the Power Placement thing today, alright?”
Bossuet looks at him. “Since when did school shit ever bother you?”
“It doesn’t,” Grantaire says, but then Musichetta’s arm tightens in a way that suggests she’s not above putting him in a headlock ‘til he spills. “It’s just. I woke up today feeling like I always do,” He makes a vague motion to himself. “You know. The whole no powers thing.”
“A lot of people get powers later in life,” Bossuet says solemnly. “You’re just a late bloomer.”
Grantaire sighs. “I could be a never bloomer, you know.”
“Powers are overrated anyway,” Joly tells him right as Musichetta jerks him back from a stray laser beam that would’ve given him a good excuse to skip Power Placement if it had hit. “See! Overrated and dangerous.”
“Joly, all three of you have powers.” Grantaire glances at where the laser came from, and sees a kid with a cold who very fearfully scuttles away when he sees Grantaire.
“Yeah but our powers are cool,” Bossuet tells him. “And pretty harmless. I don’t think I could hurt anybody by seeing well in the dark.”
“You could murder somebody during a power outage,” Joly grins.
“You know, I’ve always pictured you as the gadget hero,” Musichetta ruffles his hair. “The one with all the cool weapons.”
“You’d look killer with a rocket launcher.” Bossuet says.
“Or knives.” Joly says. Joly would make the world’s cutest murderer.
“Two words: knife launcher.” Grantaire grins. The bad mood is still there, lingering a lot like a really annoying wasp, but at least he’s swatting at it now. “Musichetta, mind looking as far as you can for me? Do I get any cool powers in the next ten minutes?”
“Gimme a sec,” She says, blinking at her eyes until they flash a bright blue, which Grantaire knows from experience is bright enough to find his phone in a dark cinema after he’s dropped it. “Uh, sorry R.”
“Yeah, nothing.” Musichetta shuts her eyes, and when she opens them, the lightshow is gone. “And you get gum on your shoe in four minutes and thirty seven seconds.”
“Come on,” Bossuet pats him on the back. “Let’s get not-pessimistic.” ‘Optimistic’ was reaching a bit too far for Grantaire. “Gum, dumb Power Placement, or whatever. Today won’t be shitty, R.”
“Today won’t be shitty,” He recites, because as much as he makes fun of verbal affirmations, they do get rid of the buzzing, sometimes. “It won’t.”
Today was going to be so shitty. Grantaire knows this the moment him and the rest of the juniors file into the gym, ominous platform already set up in the center. He knows the moment Javert, known back in the day as The Inspector, you know, the dude who caught criminals literally by yelling, orients them. He knows it when Javert says “I’ve been giving this test for years now, so my say is final. Let’s begin.”
“Hey,” Bossuet elbows him from where he’s sitting next to Grantaire. “Not-pessimistic.”
Up on the platform, the first victim, an emo looking yet oddly well dressed kid introduces himself right before melting into a puddle. Javert looks down and says, quietly, “Hero Support.”
“Figures,” The kid says, still a puddle.
“You know, I think not-pessimistic starting to look a little too optimistic, by this point.” Grantaire says.
Seeing kids showcase their power is an awful exercise in either crushing self consciousness when their powers scream Hero, or second hand embarrassment when their power is, uh, turning into a ball. The self consciousness comes back when Grantaire remembers that even the dumbest power is better than having none at all.
One by one, the students go up, but when Grantaire looks around, he can already sort them from looks alone.
Cosette, who’s sitting next to her friend with the flowers in his hair, is obviously a Hero, given with how she’s flown to school herself everyday, leaving poor old Grantaire taking the bus when he refused to be carried miles into the air. The kid with the brown hair and Bambi eyes has been staring at her since she sat down, though Grantaire doesn’t really know his power. Same goes for the sullen looking girl next to him.
“Jehan,” Javert calls out, and Flowers stands up, revealing that he is holding a clay pot in his arms. When Jehan steps up to the platform, Javert looks like he has “Hero Support” at the tip of his tongue already.
“Good morning,” Jehan smiles.
“Demonstrate your power, then.” Javert motions.
Jehan starts murmuring to his clay pot, and vine emerges, along with a bright red tomato.
“Here you go,” Jehan plucks the tomato from the stem and hands to Javert. “It’s seedless.”
“Ah,” Javert doesn’t quite know what to do. He has a tomato in his hand. “Thank you. Can you do anything….more….”
“Do you want one with the seeds?”
“No. I meant,” Javert sighs.
“Violent,” Grantaire hears an irritated mutter somewhere along his left. “He means can you do anything more violent with your powers, because that’s all—”
“Shhh,” Comes the reply. The mutters don’t stop, they just get softer. The pure vehemence stays constant though. Grantaire leans forward to sneak a glance at the perpetrator.
Seated a row down from Grantaire is the back of very blond head. The owner of said blond hair seriously has a lot of opinions given with how he’s still muttering. Grantaire thinks he’s seen him around here or there, usually hanging out with Combeferre and that one very cheery dude. The only reason Grantaire knows Combeferre is because of last year’s Incident where he accidentally made a ray gun that made shit huge.
The ray was confiscated, of course, but not before it hit a few things. Up to this day, there is a very large moth flitting about around campus.
When Combeferre is called, all he has to do is stand up, and Javert squints at him.
“You,” He says. Javert’s been hunting down that moth for months. “The Technopath.”
“Me.” Combeferre says.
“Sit down. Hero, god help us all.” Javert pinches the bridge of his nose. “Next. Courfeyrac.”
Courfeyrac, the cheery dude next to Mutters, happily bounds his way down to the platform. “Hello, ladies and gentlemen and everybody else. I duplicate.”
Javert hums and nods. “Good. Demonstrate.”
“I can’t,” Courfeyrac says.
Javert looks like he’s gonna have a conniption. “You can’t.”
“Yeah,” Courfeyrac waves his hand in a dismissive gesture. “I never really got the hang of it, what with how this school doesn’t actually teach us how to use our powers.” Mutters mutters something in a very approving tone. Combeferre is very deliberately cleaning his glasses. “I mean, it comes and goes. I can’t even get the amount right. Some days, there’s just me. Other days, I’ve got an army.”
“Is today an army day?” Javert asks. Miraculously, he’s still holding Jehan’s tomato. Grantaire is waiting for when he snaps and crushes it.
Courfeyrac pauses, feigning thought, then says. “Nope.”
“Hero Support,” Javert breathes out. The tomato is still in one piece. Courfeyrac looks oddly smug about the placement, but disappointed when he sees the tomato.
“Of course when a power can’t be done at beck and call, they’re immediately put into a supposedly ‘lesser’—,” Mutters is starting back up and Grantaire can hear his air quotes. Kudos, dude. “—class despite the fact that the system doesn’t even—”
“Shhh,” Combeferre says.
“Right,” Javert looks at his clipboard as if it’s done him a grievous fault. “One last before we break for lunch. Enjolras.”
And Mutters stands up.
Okay, the blond hair should have tipped him off, Grantaire thinks when Mutters, only son of the golden duo Captain Snowstorm and Ember, takes the platform. Grantaire, despite not knowing what Enjolras’ power is, never having seen it, knows Enjolras is a Hero. If it weren’t for the obvious fact that powers are hereditary or that his parents are the city’s favorite Powered individuals, it’s for how he looks alone. With a face like that, the news would have a field day. With a face like that, he could probably get a surrender with a well aimed glare.
“Ah yes, Enjolras.” Javert says. “Alright, which one is it? Fire or ice? God forbid it be both.”
A lot of people are on the edge of their seats. If Grantaire is correct, which he usually isn’t when it comes to school gossip since he doesn’t have the energy to listen to bullshit, Enjolras never uses his powers where people can see it.
So when he says “Doesn’t matter,” the gym erupts into silence, punctuated only by Combeferre very vigorously cleaning his glasses.
“Son,” Javert says gravely. “Just demonstrate your power.”
“No,” Enjolras says.
“Oh my god,” Grantaire hears himself say quietly.
“Sort me wherever you want. I don’t care.” Enjolras meets Javert’s gaze head on. “I refuse to demonstrate my powers just to get sorted into a category that’s the product of a deeply flawed hegemonic dichotomous educational system that instills skewed standards on not only the Powered, but civilians too.”
“Oh my god,” Grantaire says again, a little louder this time apparently, because Enjolras hears him, head swiveling around from Javert to the bleachers, singling out Grantaire from everybody else.
“What did you say?” Enjolras asks him not exactly unkindly.
“Nothing,” Grantaire says. Enjolras’ eyes are very blue and very piercing. It’s such an unproductive thought to have at the moment, but he’s having it. “Just. Nice opinions, that’s all.”
Enjolras frowns, and yeah, Grantaire may have sounded a little bit sarcastic just then. He can’t help it. He looks to Javert for help.
“Enjolras, sit down. You’re in Hero.” Javert says, and it’s the wrong thing to say because Enjolras’s expression gets downright thunderous.
“You can’t sort me into Hero when I didn’t even demonstrate anything.”
“It’s genetics. Sit down.”
“No, that is exactly the problem. There is so much bias in this test that—”
“You can’t be serious,” Grantaire says, and he realizes he’s said this because Enjolras turns to him again. All that thunder, now directed at Grantaire, almost makes him want to take his words back. Almost.
“Do you have something to add?” Enjolras asks him, and this time, it’s a little bit unkind.
Grantaire isn’t sure which masochistic part of him possesses him to reply with a shrug. He then says “Nice opinions.”
“You think I’m joking?” Enjolras says over Javert telling him to sit down. “The Hero/Hero Support system is antiquated and problematic. It breeds elitism and unnecessary hierarchy in the Powered community. Not to mention that it’s a hostile environment that breeds bitter individuals who turn to villainy.”
The platform was made to withstand whatever power a student could possibly demonstrate, but right now, Grantaire isn’t sure it can do Enjolras justice as he delivers what can only be described as a goddamn speech. Everybody is quiet. Javert looks like he’s considering manhandling Enjolras back into the bleachers. Combeferre is still, incredibly, cleaning his glasses. Grantaire feels words wanting to push themselves out of his head. He wants to hurl words right back at Enjolras’.
“This system limits education and potential,” He says. “Powered schools should focus on actually helping students with their powers, no matter how trivial others may think it to be. Instead, they cater to the gifted few that fit into the unrealistic Hero standard. ”
Much to Grantaire’s horror, he lets out a very soft snicker. Under normal circumstances, nobody would’ve heard it. But the gym is dead quiet. And Enjolras just heard him.
“If you say ‘nice opinions’ one more time—”
“I won’t! Chill,” Grantaire puts up his hands placatingly. “I just thought that everything you said, while highly inspiring, is very unlikely.”
Enjolras’ eye twitches.
“You, don’t encourage him.” Javert points at him with the hand holding the tomato. “Enjolras, sit down before I give you detention. The rest of you, you’re dismissed.”
A lot of the students scramble out of their seats, relieved to get out of the tension filled room. Some stay, lingering and chatting. Grantaire stands up and gets ready to leave when he hears “You’re wrong.”
Enjolras, almost hilariously, has not moved an inch. He stands on the platform, gaze trained on Grantaire. He says, “You’re wrong. It isn’t unlikely. It just seems that way because people aren’t trying to fix it.”
“Grantaire,” Bossuet says, eyes darting between him and Enjolras.
“Dude,” Grantaire starts, and it’s over. Because when Grantaire starts talking, he’s physically incapable of stopping. “Nobody is trying to change it because it works. Yeah, it’s shitty and old, but it sticks. I mean, just the two year lag for Power Placement took ages to happen.”
“But it helped,” He says. “There are less late bloomers.”
“Believe me when I say that it doesn’t help as much as you think,” He says, voice flat. “And nothing really will. Unless you can find something to replace a system that’s been here since forever, while at the same time not shocking the Powered schools into something completely unfamiliar, no dice, man.”
“Enjolras, let’s go.” Combeferre says soothingly. Vaguely, Grantaire realizes that Javert is still in the gym, on the side, waiting for everybody to file out. He also smells something burning.
“Just because it’s difficult,” Enjolras grits out, “Doesn’t mean it’s not worth fighting for. Nobody benefits from this system.”
“Oh, come on,” Grantaire scoffs, because 1) he’s an asshole and 2) having Enjolras’ furious gaze directed at him and only him is...something, to say the least. Intoxicating, if he’s feeling pretentious. And honestly, when is he ever not. “Pretty boy power prodigies like you benefit from this ’oppressive system’.”
“Grantaire,” Bossuet whispers frantically. “You maybe wanna, uh. Cut it out.”
He wants to do no such thing, thank you very much. He’s on a roll. But then he notices the telltale scent of smoke in the air. He notices the wisps of it coming from Enjolras’ clenched fists.
“That doesn’t mean it’s—”
“That is enough,” Javert says calmly, but at a volume so loud that Grantaire and everybody who is still in the gym reaches up to cover their ears. Except for Bambi eyes. Huh. “Everybody out. Enjolras, try not to make any more trouble. Your parents won’t like it.”
“Right,” Grantaire smirks. “Golden boy over here has an image to keep, huh.”
“God, can you just shut up,” Enjolras raises his voice, but Grantaire doesn’t have time to react to that because he’s too busy reacting to the fire. The fire that’s just come bursting from Enjolras’ hands. The fire that’s coming towards him and—
Bambi eyes walks right in front of him, sending the fireball ricocheting up into the ceiling.
Grantaire blinks. His breathing is shallow, but he’s not burnt to a crisp, so it’s a win in his book. Enjolras, whose arms are still on fire, looks mortified. And worried.
“Oh,” Bambi says.
“You,” Javert says. “Name. Power.”
“Marius, sir!” Marius says. “Power cancellation and immunity.”
Javert looks at him for a moment, and then he yells, at a normal human volume. “SPRINKLER.”
A hose springs from the platform and douses Enjolras with a few buckets of water, extinguishing him quite effectively.
“Marius, Hero. Enjolras, detention.” Javert tells them all. “The rest of you, get out of my gym before something else goes wrong.”
“Well, if you look at the not-terrible side,” Musichetta says, because the ‘bright side’ is a bit too bright. “That could have gone a lot worse.”
“Please, it’s gone worse already.” He groans, sitting down next to Feuilly who looks spectacularly sleep deprived, his head pillowed in his arms, an energy drink still in his hand. “I haven’t even showcased my spectacular sarcastic abilities.”
“What if that’s actually your power?” Joly stabs his straw into a carton of AJ.
“Sarcasm Man,” Grantaire drawls. “Master of verbal provocation and apathetic commentary.”
“And, apparently, nearly getting set on fire.” Bossuet says. “Because dude.”
Feuilly makes a groaning noise loud enough to be heard over the crackling his body is doing. Grantaire leans in, careful not to touch him or the sparks coming off of him.
“Feuilly says be quiet,” Grantaire says. “He also says that he’s fully charged for Joly and Bossuet’s plan, which. You know what. By this point, I don’t wanna know.”
“You alright, Feuilly?” Joly asks.
“He says he’s fine.” Grantaire translates Feuilly’s next few groaning noises, nodding in understanding. “But he also says not to touch him, unless you want to spend the rest of the day at the clinic.” He uses a pencil to pull the energy drink from Feuilly’s hand. “I really hope your entire plan doesn’t involve blasting the school into a thousand tiny meteors.”
“Nah,” Joly bites his straw. “Just the gym.”
Grantaire looks at Bossuet in worry, but Bossuet still doesn’t seem over what happened awhile ago.
“R,” He says. “I’m still not over what happened awhile ago. You almost got roasted. Literally.”
“Believe me, I know. I was the one who had fire aimed at him,” He grumbles. “I just annoyed the dude who never uses his powers into using his powers, so yeah. I know.”
“Heads up,” Musichetta says. “We’re getting visitors in a few seconds.”
“Are you saying that because you see them or because you see them.” Grantaire asks.
“Former,” She tells him. “They’re hovering behind you guys.”
“Hello friends!” Joly stands up and waves at whoever it is.
Grantaire turns to see Marius, the kid who saved him from turning to ashes, with a deer in the headlights look. The sullen girl he was sitting next to is with him too, who actually waves back at Joly.
“Do you guys wanna like, sit down?” Bossuet asks. “Or are you fine with hovering.”
“Yes! Or, uh.” Marius says. “No. I meant.”
“We’re sitting down,” The girl says.
“Welcome to our humble abode,” Joly tells them when they’re settled in. “I’m Joly. This is Bossuet, Grantaire, and Musichetta. Half dead over here is Feuilly.”
“He says hello,” Grantaire says. “But don’t touch him.”
The girl tilts her head. “Why? Is he poisonous?”
He shakes his head. “Electrical hazard.” Bossuet says.
“Neat,” She says and starts fishing something out of her pocket. “Eponine.” She introduces to the table at large “You already know Marius, because of his heroism awhile ago.” Marius smiles bashfully. “And he’s here because he wants to cash in a favor for saving your life.”
“No!” Marius says, flustered. “That’s not it at all. I’m just—really glad you’re okay and everything.”
“Yeah, thanks for that by the way. I wasn’t able to say so awhile ago. I might’ve been on the crispy side if it weren’t for you,” Grantaire tells him. “And it’s cool. I sort of owe you a favor. Maybe fifty. What’s up?”
“Oh gosh, it’s nothing really,” He mumbles. Meanwhile, Eponine seems to be slowly inching her phone towards Feuilly’s head. “It’s just, well. You know her right? The flying girl?”
“Cosette?” Grantaire asks. Marius nods vigorously. “Yeah, she’s my unofficial step-sister. Why?” He knows full well why, since Marius is darting his eyes around everywhere, looking a lot like the tomato Javert didn’t crush, but Grantaire can have his fun.
“Well, I was just wondering if you could,” and then Marius lapses into an unintelligible mumble.
“What?” He leans in closer. “You want me to introduce you two?”
“If it’s not too much trouble,” Marius says as if going up and talking to her is completely out of the question.
“Yeah, sure.” Grantaire shrugs.
With a crackle, Eponine’s phone briefly touches Feuilly’s head before she pulls it away.
“Fully charged,” She hums approvingly.
“Nice,” Musichetta high fives her.
“Wow, we sure are popular today.” Joly says, motioning for Grantaire to turn around to see whoever it is has visited next.
Grantaire wasn’t expecting it to be Enjolras.
But there he is. Enjolras stands, looking determined and out of place all at once. He’s marginally drier than the last time Grantaire saw him, no longer looking like a very attractive wet cat. He’s also glaring at Grantaire, which is weird because Grantaire is pretty sure he hasn’t said anything stupid yet. He opens his mouth to ask if he’s said something without strictly noticing, but Enjolras beats him to the punch.
“It was not my intention to set you on fire,” Enjolras says, then he frowns slightly, as if realizing that that sentence could have done with a few more introductory ones.
“Um,” Grantaire says eloquently. He leans back, hazarding a look to where Courfeyrac sits at their usual table. Courfeyrac sees him and gives him a thumbs up. Next to him, Combeferre is holding a spray bottle. “Hello to you too?”
“Oh. Right. Hello. I’m Enjolras.” Grantaire holds back his first instinct to say ‘I know’. Enjolras is doing enough awkward conversing for the both of them. “I’m here to apologize for almost setting you on fire.”
“Grantaire,” He waves. “And you didn’t mean it. I’m fine.”
“I’m glad you’re fine, but my behavior was still out of line.” Enjolras says. “I tend to get worked up easily and that sets off my power. It shouldn’t have happened over a disagreement of opinion, no matter how unfounded those opinions may be. I’m sorry.”
“Okay, first, did you write that down? Second, I’m pretty sure I got insulted a little bit there. And third, apology accepted. No harm done. Really. Thanks to this guy,” Grantaire pats Marius’ back. “All in all, I’d rate that apology a six out of ten. Great content and language, though work on sincerity.”
“Thank you,” Enjolras says despite the scowl beginning on his face. Then, with what Grantaire imagines is a lot of effort, he extends his hand. For a handshake. What.
Grantaire does see the effort. Enjolras, it seems, doesn’t half-ass anything. Apologies included. Thus, the handshake. And Grantaire is totally up for a friendly handshake, but there’s just the issue of the last thing Grantaire has seen those hands do.
“Please take no offense on how I’m a bit hesitant to shake your hand without at least an oven mitt,” Grantaire says.
Enjolras, obviously having taken offense, says. “Oh.”
It’s such a dejected ‘Oh’ that Grantaire can’t leave it. “No. Alright. Nevermind. We can make this work, somehow. Marius, take his hand.”
Marius starts, “Wh—”
“Do it for Cosette.”
Marius takes Enjolras’ hand. Enjolras looks down at his hand in great disapproval.
Grantaire takes Marius’ other hand, and he shakes. Marius seems to get the message, and he shakes Enjolras’ hand. It says something about Grantaire’s life that, despite going to a high school filled with Powered kids, it’s this handshake that takes the prize for being the weirdest thing he’s ever done. Enjolras seems to at least appreciate the gesture.
After a few terrible seconds Enjolras says goodbye and makes his way back to his table. When Grantaire turns back around, everybody is looking at him with various expressions. It’s Feuilly, who’s managed to muster to energy to lift his head up a few inches, who breaks the silence.
“That was the most awkward thing I’ve ever seen,” Feuilly says.
The second round of Power Placement goes off without a hitch. Enjolras keeps his commentary in his head this time, judging by the lack of quiet, passionate murmurs. Bahorel, the jacked dude who Grantaire had pegged as a Strength, actually just works out a lot, and can turn into a hamster. Nobody has an instance of injury or near death, so they’re improving already.
“I can see into the future,” Musichetta says when she’s up on the platform. “But not very far.”
“Define ‘not very far’.” Javert frowns.
“Fourteen minutes,” Musichetta shrugs. “Let’s see if there’s anything interesting coming up soon.” She closes her eyes, then opens them, bright light spilling from her eyes. “You should probably get a janitor here already to fix the lights. And—Oh my god. Oh my god.”
“What is it?” Javert asks worriedly.
“Something very embarrassing,” Musichetta puts her head into her hands and starts walking off the platform. “You’ll know it when it happens.”
“Hero Support,” Javert sighs. This year isn’t a good year for Hero recruitment it seems. “Next. Feuilly.”
Feuilly sleepily goes up, mumbles something along the lines of “I’m basically a Pikachu,” then with a loud crackle and a blinding thunderbolt, promptly blows out every light in the gym, plunging them all into darkness.
“Hero,” Javert says. Grantaire can’t see anything, but he’s sure Javert is pinching the bridge of his nose. Or facepalming.
A row down to the left, he sees a flicker of light. Enjolras has a tiny, candle sized flame in his palm.
“Well, now that I have no idea who’s next, whoever isn’t finished yet, please just describe your power to me.”
“Well, sir.” Bossuet’s loud voice rings out from where Grantaire thinks is the platform. “I have the miraculous ability to see perfectly in the dark!”
“Really,” Javert deadpans.
“Yep,” Bossuet says. “But if you aren’t blessed with my awesome power, I present another solution.”
From the darkness, a dim glow starts from the platform until it’s bright enough to illuminate the whole thing. Bossuet is giving Joly a piggyback ride, and Joly is glowing brightly, a huge grin on both their faces. Musichetta has her face in her hands, but her shoulders are shaking with laughter.
“Joly and Bossuet. Together, we are Nightvision and Nightlight. Tadaa!” Joly says, doing jazz hands.
“Together, you’re both in Hero Support,” Javert says. Joly and Bossuet high five. He points to Joly, “You, stay here so I can read. Last one. Grantaire.”
“Well, that’s me.” He stands, the smile from Joly and Bossuet’s antics fading.
He navigates his way to the platform, only getting off the bleachers without tripping because of Enjolras’ flame, and steps up.
“Hi,” He tells Javert. Joly is standing next to him, smiling sympathetically. “I’m pretty much useless.”
“Just tell me your power, son.” Javert says, no longer in the mood for any shenanigans.
“That’s the thing,” Grantaire scratches the back of his head. “I kinda don’t have one. The two year lag time with the Power Placement didn’t help this late bloomer.”
The gym is quiet. Javert says, “Hero Support.”
By the time he gets home, Grantaire is exhausted. Between getting shot at with fire, interacting with way more people than he’s used to, and confirming to everybody that he’s not Powered, he doesn’t even have the energy to take his shoes off. He just fucks right off to the kitchen, grabs a box of cereal, and goes out through his window to the roof.
Perfectly ready to sulk before he crashes for the rest of the night, he settles himself in and starts munching on dry cereal.
“Hey,” Cosette’s head peeks overhead, but Grantaire’s lived with her long enough to not squawk in surprise and fall off the roof. He just eats another handful of cereal. “You shouldn’t be on the roof anymore, remember? You could fall.”
“You’re here all the time,” He grumbles.
“Falling isn’t really a problem for me,” Cosette floats down, sitting next to him.
“Didn’t you have a thing with Jehan today?”
“Yeah. There’s this meeting thing his friends are doing,” Cosette snatches the box from him. “But I’m pretty sure I can catch up tomorrow. You can come with, if you want.”
“Nah,” He shrugs. “But I’ll pass the invitation to Bossuet, or something.”
“Hey,” She says, holding the box out of his reach when he starts making grabby hands for it. “You better not spend tonight feeling miserable over today.”
“I won’t feel miserable over all of today. Just the whole ‘no powers’ thing,” Grantaire says. “Which is dumb since I’m probably better off without them because of the villain genes.”
“Feeling bad isn’t dumb!” Cosette smacks him with the cereal box. “I just didn’t want you to spend too much time moping when you can be doing more important things,” She says. “Like telling me what the hell was that with Enjolras.”
“Oh god, don’t remind me.” He groans, grabbing the box and burying his head into it. “He was just so...and then my brain couldn’t make my mouth stop talking. What’s worse is that he apologized afterwards. Like what planet is this kid from?”
“That’s Enjolras for you,” Cosette laughs. “I don’t know him well, but Jehan is friends with Courfeyrac, so I see him around a lot. I was worried that you’d be sulking about arguing with him.”
“Actually, mortifying horror aside, it was fun.”
“Arguing was fun?”
“Yeah, sans the whole fire thing. Which, again, he apologized for.” Grantaire tells her. “He offered to shake my hand, Cosette. It was surreal. We ended up with Marius mediating it because, you know, fire.”
“Marius?” Cosette asks faux innocently, eyes lighting up.
“Yeah, brown hair, Bambi eyes. Saved me from turning into a s’more.” He grins. “He had lunch with us, earlier. Do you think I should extend that meeting invite to him as well?”
“No. I mean, if you want to.” Cosette blushes, tucking her hair behind her ear.
“Come on. Let’s get back inside,” He ruffles her hair because he can. “That’s enough roof time for me.”
The thing about Hero Support is that a lot of people end up here. Grantaire has to hand it to Enjolras, because the unrealistic Hero standard is really, well, unrealistic. Powers come in so many random forms that a lot of people don’t know how to weaponise them for saving the world. That, combined with the fact that Power Placement yesterday only sorted a handful of Heroes, leads Grantaire to his next point.
He really hopes he has at least one friend in each class.
When he walks into his first class, everybody tries their best to subtly avoid eye contact with him. His Tragic Past combined with all the stunts he pulled yesterday aren’t doing him any favors on the approachability front. It’s something he’s used to, but he’s gotta sit somewhere.
Grantaire scans the room and nearly sighs in relief when he spots Eponine looking very bored in the corner.
“Morning,” Eponine says when he sits next to her. “Let the borefest that is Hero Support classes begin.”
“Hey,” He greets. “I didn’t know you were Hero Support. Actually, I don’t even know your power.”
“Awareness distortion,” Eponine smirks. “Or as I like to call it, the useless cousin of invisibility. I can make it very difficult for people to notice I’m doing something, like talking, or standing, or leaving the classroom.”
“Okay, that’s really fucking cool.” Grantaire says, trying to remember Eponine at Power Placement yesterday. “How the hell did you get into Hero Support?”
“I can make it very difficult for people to notice I’m demonstrating my power,” She says flatly.
Statistics seem to be on his side, because all his classes after that he shares with somebody he knows. Musichetta and Bossuet are in his gadget workshop. Bahorel, as Grantaire comes to know, is a fucking riot who passes notes with him in Trig (because Powered kids need Trig too apparently). Montparnasse, the dude who turns into a puddle, is in one of his classes too, and doesn’t mind when Grantaire sits next to him since he’s too busy slouching and angsting off into the distance to care.
Joly walks with Grantaire to their next class after lunch, which was adorable since Marius was gushing his heart out after Grantaire extended Cosette’s invite to him, when Courfeyrac, or, er, Courfeyracs, two of them, catch up to them in the hallway.
“Good afternoon, good sirs.” One Courfeyrac says. The other one says, “Would you be interested to join a society composed of cool people seeking to make change?”
“Hi, Courf!” Joly says while Grantaire is still reeling from the ambush. “And sure, we’d love to.”
“Awesome!” They say in unison. “It’s after class. At the gadget lab near the library. See you there.”
“What just happened?” Grantaire asks after the Courfs left.
“Courf is in my Chem class. And we just agreed to go to this meeting thing his friends are doing.” Joly explains.
“Okay, but why?”
Joly shrugs. “Why not?”
Grantaire pauses. “Fair enough, man.”
His last class of the day, thank god, is not exclusively a Hero Support class. Sky High likes making it look like the whole system isn’t fucked to hell and back, so some classes are integrated. This usually ends up being the most dragging since they couldn’t even find a way to segregate it into two categories.
When Grantaire walks into Powered History, he’s looking forward to a good nap. Then he realizes that he doesn’t know anybody in the class.
Except for Enjolras.
Damn it. He was really hoping that it’d be Feuilly or Cosette. Or even Combeferre. Basically, any Hero he can’t annoy to the point of accidental violence. But as he gives the class a scan, Enjolras is his best bet right now. Everybody here knows him as either the powerless kid or the son of those two really nasty villains who killed a lot of people back in the day. Except for Enjolras, who knows him as ‘the dude I almost set on fire but apologized to’.
Grantaire takes his chances. He sits next to Enjolras.
Enjolras stiffens, but then relaxes when he turns to see Grantaire. “Oh, hello.”
“Hey there. Remember me?” Grantaire settles into his seat, trying to find a comfortable nap position.
“Yeah. Grantaire. I almost set you on fire.” Enjolras says.
“We had such good times,” He says wistfully. “Anyways, sorry that you’re stuck with me for this class, but unless a social miracle happens, I’m gonna be sitting next to you. Don’t worry too much, though. I’m probably gonna be half asleep for most of this class anyways.”
“I—” He furrows his eyebrow. “I don’t mind if you sit next to me. And I also don’t follow.”
“Our differing opinions?” Grantaire reminds him. “I mean, I’ll go to the effort to try to keep them to myself, so as not to have a repeat performance of yesterday.”
“I apologized for that,” Enjolras says with just that little touch of indignance as the teacher walks in “And I’m sure it won’t be a problem.”
It’s a problem.
Enjolras, unsurprisingly, is the kid who actually recites in class. He’s the one who asks questions the teacher obviously can’t answer. The teacher in question doesn’t seem to care all that much since his powerpoint is ninety percent text written in the smallest font size possible. Grantaire is sure that only the girl in the back with Supervision can read it, but Enjolras participates all the same, much to the irritation of the teacher, and to the amazement of Grantaire.
Grantaire, who just can’t keep his mouth shut when it comes to Enjolras.
“Ever since the conception and institutionalization of the Hero/Hero Support system in the 50s, the prevalence of recorded Villains skyrocketed.”
“Tsk, tsk, Enjolras. Correlation does not equal causation. Villainy is a choice.”
“A choice people turned to when the system wasn’t helping them.”
“If somebody chooses to do bad things, do you really think they deserve help? Or is that just the golden Hero mindset talking?”
“I’m not saying Villains aren’t bad. They’re the worst type of people; Powered but instead of helping, they destroy. But the system we have in place creates more of them.”
Nobody in the room gives enough of a shit to stop the back and forth that goes on until the bell rings. When everybody is filing out, Grantaire turns to Enjolras.
“I told you it’d be a problem,” He tells him gravely. “I guess you’re rethinking your seating choices now, huh?”
“No, not at all.” Enjolras packs up his things. “Sit next to me in this class. I enjoyed it.”
“I enjoyed it,” Enjolras repeats. “Honestly, I learned more from you than that shitty powerpoint I stopped trying to read. You’re really smart.”
“What?” Grantaire says, just in case he wasn’t making enough of a fool out of himself.
“Your arguments are interesting and you’re brave enough to actually speak against me, which almost nobody else does.” Enjolras tells him sincerely, slinging his bag over his shoulder. “You could work on being less argumentative for argument’s sake. And you need to stop using ad hominem attacks, because you’ve already exhibited that you can do better than that.”
“Are you alright? That’s the third time you’ve said that.”
“Yes. No. I’m just confused, is all.” Grantaire says. “Because you’re telling me that me running my mouth off didn’t drive you out of your mind. You’re telling me you liked it. Yesterday you tried to set me on fire.”
“I don’t use my powers often, so they’re hard to control.” Enjolras says defensively. “You did drive me out of my mind, but I guess it’s good practice. I can win arguments with my words, not my powers.”
“You,” He says, “are something else.”
“Thanks, I guess.” Enjolras smiles. Just a little bit. Or maybe Grantaire is seeing things. Taking the past hour into consideration, he wouldn’t discount the possibility. “Anyways, I’ve gotta go. I’ve got this thing. Goodbye, Grantaire.” And he’s out of the classroom.
“Bye,” Grantaire says to the empty air around him.
So of course, when he gets to the gadget lab by the library for Courf’s thing, Enjolras is there.
Combeferre is talking. Or at least Grantaire thinks he’s talking. It’s hard to tell with the welding helmet over his face, but he’s gesturing and emitting some muffled noises that even Grantaire can’t translate. Courfeyrac, and there’s only one of him now, seems to notice that nobody in the room can understand him, and pushes Combeferre’s helmet back.
“—And that’s what we’re trying to do with this group.” Combeferre finishes.
“You might want to repeat everything,” Courfeyrac says. “Helmet kinda ruined everything.”
“Everything?” Combeferre sighs. “I don’t want to start from the beginning.”
“Just the gist, then.” Enjolras tells him. “And the really important bits.”
“Alright. Well, one thing you all have to know is that power manifestation only happens after a trigger of some sort.” Combeferre says, picking up a blowtorch that looks like he made it himself. “I, for example, broke my Gameboy, then put it back together into a Gameboy Color a year too early.”
“I wanted to watch all the Harry Potter movies all at once,” Courfeyrac says, swinging his legs from where he’s seated on a table.
“The notion that all powers manifest before or during adolescence is a myth,” Enjolras says, eyes trained on where Grantaire sits. “It’s perpetuated by the fact that children and teens are simply introduced to a myriad stimuli that could trigger a power.”
“Right,” Bossuet nods. “That still doesn’t explain why you’re holding a blowtorch to Enjolras’ arm.”
Because that’s a thing that is happening. Combeferre, Courfeyrac, and Enjolras are at the front of the gadget lab, commencing the meeting by pointing a blowtorch at Enjolras’ arm. Jehan, Bahorel, and Feuilly were at yesterday’s meeting, and are not as put off by the display. This doesn’t comfort Grantaire at all.
“Well as you all know,” Courfeyrac says. “We’re against the Powered education system. We want to help change it, or at least get people talking about how it’s not working out. One way to do that is to prove that training powers is better than training Heroes or Sidekicks.”
“And to train powers, we have to test the limits of powers.” Enjolras rolls up his sleeves. “I don’t get burned when I make fire, so Ferre has a theory I’m fireproof.”
“Anybody here have the power to resurrect a dead man?” Grantaire asks the room.
“My elective is Superhuman First Aid,” Joly suggests.
“I’ve been working on a skin regenerator in my spare time,” Ferre says.
“Cool,” Musichetta says. “How’s that been going?”
“Exploding, mostly.” Ferre says, pulling the helmet back over his face. Then he proceeds to set Enjolras on fire.
Thankfully, the theory turned out to be true, (“Fire cannot burn a dragon,” Bahorel whispers.) but that was only the beginning.
It takes one more meeting for Marius and Cosette to show up. It takes two for Eponine to join them. It takes three for Grantaire to conclude that he’s found himself in a group of very inspired and well meaning madmen. It takes a full week for Grantaire to realize that he doesn’t really mind.
Their unofficial group name, which they agreed on when Grantaire voiced out that they were a cooler version of the Justice League, is the ABC, for reasons he can’t really remember. That meeting devolved into puns rather quickly. All Grantaire knows is that he spent way too long subtly staring at Enjolras, who was trying his best not to laugh at Joly’s puns. Runner ups for the name include The Super Squad (from Marius), Nightvision and Some Other Less Cool People (from Bossuet), and Enjolras and the Enjolrettes (from Courfeyrac).
Much to Grantaire’s surprise, they actually do stuff. They talk about drafting small but concrete plans the school can approve, things like clubs that teach and hone powers. It takes so much time that everything bleeds out after meetings. Their lunch table is now significantly more populated than before. Grantaire usually sits back and lets them do the talking, but he argues when he can, when he sees holes that are too big to ignore in their plans.
Tuesdays end up becoming Grantaire’s favorite days. On Tuesdays, Powered History is his last class, with the ABC meetings right after it. This means roughly two whole periods of non-stop Enjolras.
Enjolras is something else, Grantaire thinks. He’s idealistic to a fault with his plans, something Grantaire is sure to shoot down if he gets too far from the ground. He’s always up for a friendly debate, no matter what time of the day it might be. Sometimes, they would begin arguing in History, and seamlessly get to the ABC without stopping, getting everybody else in on whatever they were talking about too.
When Grantaire realizes that he can have conversations with Enjolras that are civil and neutral and lack any major disputes, it only gets better. Enjolras, under all the awkward social skills, is an asshole. Grantaire loves it. Sometimes, Enjolras would get bitchy over the tiniest things like when Grantaire makes fun of him for still meticulously making bunny ears when he ties his shoelaces. It makes Enjolras look less like the stereotypical Powered prodigy and more of just this weird, passionate kid with extraordinary luck when it comes to genetics.
The ABC, when they’re not talking about plans, instead works on shitloads of convoluted training experiments. Notable examples include Bahorel looking at a picture of a ferret for three days, five Courfeyracs blindfolded, walking around aimlessly, and Eponine standing on a table, yelling.
It’s all ridiculous, but it’s actually helping. Musichetta extended her foresight by a whole minute, Courfeyrac can somehow control the amount of his duplicates, and Jehan grew a whole pineapple. Grantaire helps where he can, but he mostly stands back, since he can’t do much about himself anyways. Everybody has a goal when it comes to their power, and Grantaire won’t let his lack of one get in the way.
“You’re on Enjolras duty today,” Combeferre tells Grantaire, handing him a spray bottle.
Grantaire looks at the bottle. “Is Enjolras going to be cleaning windows?”
“As you know,” Enjolras sits next to him as Ferre takes his leave “My emotions are tied to my powers, so when I get worked up, the fire tends to go along with it.”
That’s the understatement of a century. Just two days ago, Enjolras nearly set his textbook on fire when the kid who can turn into a rock said that ‘Sidekicks should be thankful they have powers in the first place.’
“Okay, so you’re going to clean windows to calm down? Like yoga?”
“No. Calming down doesn’t really work for me. I can’t just switch off my emotions and I’d never want to,” Enjolras sighs and Grantaire agrees wholeheartedly. Enjolras’ passion for everything is a sight to behold. Trying to contain it would be a crime against humanity. “But I can try to disconnect my emotions from my powers.”
“That’s pretty smart,” Grantaire nods. “I’ve still got no idea what I’m doing here with a spray bottle, though.”
“We’re going to have a conversation,” Enjolras says. “And it will eventually lead to a disagreement of some sort, causing me to lose control. When that happens,” He gestures at the bottle with a wince.
“Oh my god,” Grantaire looks at Enjolras. Then he looks at the bottle. Then he grins. “For real?”
“Yes. Try not to look like you’ll enjoy this too much.”
“I can’t help it. I will be enjoying this too much,” He says. “I’ve gotta ask, though. Why me?”
“You’re the second most infuriating friend I have.”
“Second?” Grantaire says, dismayed. “I cannot believe this. Who the hell beat me?”
“Courfeyrac,” Enjolras smirks. “But only when there are more than three of him.”
“Then I should be first by virtue of technicality. There’s always just one of me,” He says, scratching his head with the bottle. “So what should we argue about today?”
“You know what, now that I’m actually thinking about it, nothing is coming up.”
“Yeah, I figure you can’t force a really good argument.” Grantaire says, looking at how Enjolras is contentedly looking at everybody else in the room. Joly is testing his bandaging skills on a sleeping Feuilly. Bahorel as a hamster is nestled in Feuilly’s hair. Musichetta, Eponine, and Cosette are sharing an orange which Grantaire guesses is from Jehan. “Look at us. We’re friendly.”
“Do you ever want to,” Enjolras makes a gesture to the room.
“Uh, I’m gonna need words, buddy.”
“We’re all training some aspect of our powers,” He says. “Why don’t you?”
“Well, in case you forgot, I don’t have one.” Grantaire drawls.
“We could try things. Exercises to figure out what it is,” Enjolras says. “Stimuli triggers power manifestation. Even for those who already manifested, a certain trigger could uncover a weakness or a strength. It’s all about exploration, training, and openness.”
Grantaire might be smiling at Enjolras. Just a bit. It’s hard to be sure. “I’m surprised you said all that without turning it against the Powered education system.”
“You’re missing the point,” Enjolras huffs. “All of us would love to help. You could try.”
“Hm,” He says. “Nah.”
Enjolras frowns. “Why not?”
“What if I just don’t have a power?” Grantaire says. “Just because I have the genes on both sides of the family doesn’t mean I still can’t be powerless. It’s rare, but it happens.”
“If that’s the case, then alright. But you’ll never know for sure if you don’t try.”
“I think I’m fine with not knowing,” Grantaire shrugs.
This sets Enjolras’ frown into a full on scowl. “Christ, what are you so afraid of? Succeeding?”
“Sort of, yeah.” Grantaire slouches, a bit. “Look, you moved here when? Sophomore year?” Enjolras nods and Grantaire winces, just a bit, remembering Enjolras’ distaste for Villains. They’re the worst type of people, he said. “Yeah, that explains it. Look, there’s a reason I sit next to you in History, and why Cosette is my step-sister and nobody talks about it, and why, as shitty as I feel being powerless, I also sorta don’t want powers.”
“Tell me,” Enjolras says.
“God, just. Look it up, or something.” Grantaire tells him. “Or ask Joly or anybody who’s lived in this city since sixth grade.”
“I don’t want to hear it from somebody else or from a newspaper,” Enjolras says, eyebrows knit. “It’s not their story to tell. I want to hear it from you.”
“Noble of you, but I don’t want to tell it either.”
Grantaire sprays Enjolras right in the face.
“Wow,” Grantaire says as Enjolras opens his eyes to glare at him. “That was really stress relieving.”
“I wasn’t even on fire, Gra—”
He sprays Enjolras again. And a few more times for good measure.
“Grantaire!” Enjolras says.
“This conversation is over because I don’t like it,” Grantaire sprays him one last time. “So you either change the subject or I leave.”
“Oh my god, fine you asshole.” Enjolras wipes his face against his sleeve. “Favorite underrated Disney movie.”
“Fucking tie between Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure Planet, bitch. Your turn.”
“The Great Mouse Detective,” Enjolras says seriously. The he adds, “Bitch.”
(At the other end of the room, Bahorel says in his high pitched hamster voice “This is a really weird courting—”
“Shh,” Joly says. “You’ll ruin it.”)
Before Grantaire went to Sky High, he went to a normal public school with Joly, Bossuet, and Musichetta. He got adequate grades, which could’ve been higher if he put effort, but effort wasn’t really something he was known for. Except for Math. Because fuck math.
He did love PE, though. Grantaire, as a younger, more annoying version of himself, always had excess energy that he loved working off. He was in the Taekwondo team, before. Grantaire was pretty good.
That being said, he hates Sky High PE. He was good at PE when he was up against normal humans, but now that he’s with Powered kids, it’s hell. There’s also the main problem that, at Sky High, they didn’t do normal sports like basketball or track. Nope. They did shit like-—
A body slams into the protective glass barrier in front of the bleachers, the kid groans as he slides down to the ground. The gym’s timer is ticking down, mannequin civilian slowly being lowered into the pit of doom.
“Three, two, one!” Eponine counts loudly next to him along with the rest of the gym. The mannequin is lowered one inch to close, and is ravaged by the swirling spikes. “Citizen unsaved, motherfuckers!” She yells.
“Why can’t we have normal sports,” Grantaire winces as he sees the losing team, the Heroes of this game, limp out of the makeshift arena.
“You have to admit that normal sports aren’t as fun to watch,” Eponine tells him when she sits back down.
Eponine is right. All his friends are pretty hyped from watching the action, especially since it doesn’t involve them in it. Save the Citizen is usually a senior centric thing, with the juniors watching, usually never getting picked out since most of the drama stays within the senior circle anyways. Grantaire doesn’t pay enough attention to school matters to know. On the Villain team today are these two stereotypical looking bullies whose names Grantaire can’t remember. He’s taken to calling them Road Runner and Stretchy, since, surprise, one is fast and the other stretches.
Grantaire can’t help but notice how Enjolras seems stiff, glaring at the arena. He figures Save the Citizen just isn’t Enjolras’ thing, but he can’t help but shake off the feeling that something stupid is going to happen.
“Alright, godless heathens.” Javert says. “We have time for one more round. Villains, choose your next opponent.
Road Runner elbows Stretchy, grinning like a shark. Enjolras is glaring right at them.
“What about Hothead over there,” Roadrunner points at Enjolras.
“Oh no,” Combeferre says, voicing out Grantaire’s thoughts. “Oh no, no. Enjolras, sit down. Do not—”
Enjolras stands up.
Courfeyrac stands up a second later. “I volunteer as partner!”
“This isn’t the fucking Hunger Games, loser. We get to pick our opponent. And we pick,” Stretchy scans the bleachers, and since the universe hates Grantaire, Stretchy’s eyes stop right at him. “Darkside over there.”
“Fantastic,” Grantaire says, but he stands up anyways. “That nickname better not stick.”
“Wait, no. Grantaire.” Enjolras says urgently when Grantaire starts walking down.
“Oh, come on.” Grantaire tells him. “You know they’ll just pick another one of our friends if I deny. I’d rather get beaten up than them.”
Enjolras is silent when they strap on the flimsy padding that’ll do nothing against any real attacks, but his eyes are on Grantaire the entire time.
“What did you do to those guys, anyways? They usually don’t mess with us,” Grantaire looks away, unable to meet Enjolras’ steady gaze.
“They were picking on somebody,” Enjolras says quietly.
“Of course they were, golden boy.” Grantaire smiles to himself. “Tell me that you at least used your powers and didn’t, like, give them a stern talking to.”
Enjolras’ faint blush is answer enough, and Grantaire can’t help but laugh softly.
“Are you sure?” Enjolras asks when they’re all ready. “You sort of, uh.”
“Yes, yes. I know. You’re stuck with the most useless partner in the history of Save the Citizen,” Grantaire pats Enjolras on the back. “I can do a killer high kick, though?” And then doubt fills Grantaire’s head. They’re going to lose for sure, but Grantaire is going to make it so much worse. “I mean, if you’re okay with. I know you didn’t pick me but—”
“You’re walking to your high school demise,” Enjolras says. “And you’re asking if I’m okay with it?”
“Sometimes I don’t get you,” Enjolras rolls his eyes, then he grabs Grantaire’s hand, pulling him along “Come on. Let’s do this.”
They step into the arena. In the center, a new mannequin citizen is lowered from the ceiling above the pit of doom. Road Runner and Stretchy stand at the other end, grinning and ribbing each other. Grantaire glances at the bleachers. His friends are wearing different expressions ranging from second hand anxiety to stone cold determination.
“Enjolras, Grantaire, you have three minutes to immobilize your Villains and save the citizen,” Javert tells them from his post. “Ready.”
The timer on the wall flashes back to three minutes.
Enjolras looks at him, and Grantaire gives him a slight nod.
The moment the time starts, Enjolras is pushed into the wall by Road Runner. Grantaire tries to get to him, but is tripped by Stretchy. He tries to stand again, but Stretchy’s gotten ahold of Grantaire’s ankle, dragging him away from Enjolras.
Enjolras, who isn’t doing anything.
“Enjolras, do something!” Grantaire yells because at least he has an excuse for not being able to do stuff. “A little fire would be awesome right now.”
“I don’t want to lose control,” Enjolras says, eyes darting around for the blur that is Road Runner.
Grantaire tries to stand up, but Stretchy throws him into the wall, which, fucking ouch. He groans, thankful that Stretchy’s hand is gone, and looks up to see why. Whatever happened while he was crumpled against the wall has sprung Enjolras into action.
It’s something else, seeing Enjolras in all his unrestrained power. Fire lines both his arms, and he’s blasting fireballs everywhere. But they’re not hitting their mark. Road Runner is too fast for that. He stands to help, but Stretchy’s arm is there again, tripping him up. Stretchy laughs from where he stands safely at a distance.
“R!” Bossuet yells from the bleachers. “Two minutes left. Save the goddamn citizen, dude.”
“It’s fucking hard, okay?” Grantaire says, standing. He sees Stretchy’s hand slither back out and he has had enough. Grantaire waits for it to get closer, and he stomps as hard as he can on Stretchy’s wrist. “Fuck you.”
He hears Stretchy yelp a few meters away as he withdraws his hand, but before he can, Grantaire grabs it, going along for the ride. The moment he’s close enough, he wastes no time, channels all his old Taekwondo skills, and punches Stretchy in the face. Hard.
Stretchy goes down.
The crowd goes nuts.
Grantaire looks around. The clock is at a minute and thirty seconds, ticking down little by little. Road Runner, having seen that his partner is out of commission, stops playing around, and starts running around in a circle around Enjolras.
For a moment, Grantaire thinks Road Runner’s made a mistake, getting close enough for Enjolras to land a hit. But then the fire running up Enjolras’ arms starts dying out. Enjolras falls to one knee, a hand going for his throat. There’s no air, Grantaire’s brain says. Road Runner is making a vortex and Enjolras can’t breathe.
“Shit,” Grantaire says. One minute. The only thing he has at his disposal is Stretchy and—
That could work.
“Sorry, lemme just borrow this for a sec.” Grantaire tells Stretchy’s unconscious form. He grabs Stretchy’s arm, and runs towards where Road Runner is.
Grantaire tosses Stretchy’s arm into Road Runner’s vortex, and he trips. The momentum from his speed derails him so bad, he runs right into the wall. And he doesn’t get up.
“Enjolras,” Grantaire drops down to where Enjolras is on his knees, sucking air into his lungs. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah,” Enjolras says, voice scratchy but filled with gratitude. “Thank y—.”
“Thank me later. We’ve got a citizen to save,” Grantaire tells him. Twenty seconds left. “I need you to blast the citizen with the biggest fireball you can possibly make.”
“Just trust me on this, okay?”
“Yes,” Enjolras looks at him. “Anything.”
“Great,” Grantaire says, inching out of his blast radius. “Do it.”
Fire lights back around Enjolras’ arms, which he aims at the citizen. The fireball that he blasts seems like the shit that came out from Pompeii, and it hits the citizen head on, burning off the rope, and sending the flaming mannequin to the other side of the arena, far, far away from the pit of doom.
Enjolras falls to the floor, chest heaving. Grantaire joins him, because he’s tired as shit too.
“Woo,” Grantaire says. “Citizen saved.”
Javert looks at the mannequin in horror. “She’s on fire.”
“We saved her from dismemberment and certain death,” Grantaire says to the ceiling. “She can survive a few third degree burns and possible death.”
The gym is quiet, waiting for the verdict. Javert sighs, and says “Heroes win this round.”
“You saved the citizen!” Cosette yells into his ear the moment he gets to the table. “Grantaire!”
“Yell it a little louder for the eardrums at the back, will you?” He says, smile wide as Cosette wrestles him into a hug.
Everybody at the table is crowing about their victory. Joly gives him a congratulatory carton of apple juice. Feuilly is so pumped the lights of the cafeteria are flickering. Grantaire is sure he’s going to regret all the back pats he’s getting, especially from Bahorel, but for now, he’ll live in the moment.
“That was pretty awesome, dude.” Eponine reaches over to mess up his hair. “I gotta say, I was worried you wouldn’t be walking after that.”
“Your faith in me is admirable, as always.” He says. “Why couldn’t you just ask Musichetta to see what would happen?”
“I was too scared to check,” Musichetta says. “But if I did, I would’ve placed bets. Can you imagine?”
“Oh god, we have to go back.” Bossuet laughs. “Where’s Combeferre? It’s about damn time he made a time machine.”
“Heh,” Joly says. “About time.”
“Yeah, actually. Where are they?” In the post-action haze, Grantaire hadn’t realized that Combeferre, Courfeyrac, and Enjolras weren’t here.
“Grantaire!” Courfeyrac stumbles into the cafeteria, skidding against the floor. When he gets to the table, he starts dragging Grantaire up by the arm. He says “You’ve gotta help us. Enjolras is going to do something dumb and you have to stop him before he sets the school on fire.”
“What? What’s going on?” Grantaire goes along with him, trailing after Courfeyrac’s urgent jog. “You’re aware that I’m the last person on Enjolras’ ‘No Fire’ list right?”
They’re out in the hallways when Grantaire sees it. A small crowd of people circled around where two Courfeyracs are holding Enjolras back. He pushes his way closer and sees Road Runner and Stretchy, obviously sore losers, egging Enjolras on. He doesn’t catch any of the words. All he hears is Combeferre at the side say “Let it go, Enj. It’s not worth it.”
Grantaire mentally thanks the universe for Combeferre, because Enjolras hazards one last glare before turning away.
“Yeah, that’s right.” Road Runner says, looking at Enjolras’ retreat, and in the process, noticing Grantaire in the crowd. “Get back to Darkside. Bet your parents’ll be real proud when you turn into a Villain. It’s gonna have to be you, though, since Darkside doesn’t even have a power.”
Here are three facts about Enjolras, right off the bat. 1) He can’t switch off his emotions, and he never will. 2) He loves his friends more than anything. 3) The last two facts in combination with what Enjolras has just heard pretty much means he’s ready to cremate a man. Enjolras turns back, fists clenched, eyes on the fear quickly blooming in the eyes of Road Runner, and he steps forward.
It’s quick thinking and accidental proximity that stops the mess before it even happens, before the fire can even begin to run itself up against Enjolras’ arms. To Grantaire’s left, there is a wall. On that wall, there is a fire alarm. He reaches out, accidentally elbows a kid in the face, and pulls.
Water rains down from the sprinklers in the hallway.
In the midst of the collective groans of surprise from everybody in school, whoops, smoke wisps from Enjolras’ body, fire safely extinguished. Grantaire pushes past the crowd.
“Hey, golden boy.” Grantaire says. Enjolras jerks his head towards him, water making his hair stick to his forehead. “I heard you were gonna do something dumb.”
“I was,” He says. Enjolras is looking at Grantaire as if he’s found something new and endlessly interesting. Maybe it’s just the water.
“—Hey,” Grantaire hears Stretchy’s voice from behind him.
“For fuck’s sake,” Grantaire says, turning. “I will punch you again if you don’t learn how to shut u—”
And he’s met with the very angry and wet face of Javert. He stands in the middle of the hallway, puddles already littering the floor.
“You two,” He says, not particularly surprised.
“Ha,” Grantaire says. Enjolras looks at the ceiling. “Hello.”
“Wow, this room is bright.” Grantaire squints when he enters the detention room with Enjolras.
The door slides shut behind them and Grantaire takes a seat. Javert had enough of a brain to put him and Enjolras in a different room from Road Runner and Stretchy. Sure, the rooms might cancel out powers, but after PE, Javert knows that Grantaire sure doesn’t need powers to get his points across.
“Well, I’m sure we won’t be missing too much in class.” Grantaire says, kicking his feet up on the table. Enjolras watches him with an amused smile as he sits down. “Hell, they’re probably pretty happy, with us gone. It’s probably quieter. Stupider.”
“Thank you,” Enjolras says, drawing his feet up on the rungs of his chair “For what you did in the match awhile ago and for stopping me. I would’ve gotten more than a detention if it weren’t for you.”
They changed before they got here. Enjolras is obviously used to the impending possibility of getting doused with water since he keeps spare clothes in his locker. He lent Grantaire a hoodie and a pair of pants, both a little bit too long for him.
“No problem, dude.” Grantaire fiddles with the drawstrings of the hoodie. “They were being dicks.”
“They were,” Enjolras nods. “It’s my fault I’m so easily provoked, though. I keep getting you into trouble or danger.”
Grantaire snorts. “Enjolras, I’m the only normal human in a school filled with Powered kids. In my first week, I almost got electrocuted. The only reason I’m alive is because Musichetta’s power manifested at that exact moment.” He says. “That’s also how I met Feuilly. I can get into trouble and danger all by myself, thank you very much.”
“Whatever you say,” Enjolras rolls his eyes.
“Are you going to get in trouble for this?” Grantaire asks. “With your parents?”
Enjolras laughs, completely humorlessly. “No, no. I’m sure they’re resigned to the fact that I’ll always be causing trouble. They’re fine as long as I carry on the legacy, whatever the hell that means.” He sighs. “Everybody forgets that I’m not my parents.”
“God, tell me about it.” Grantaire leans back. He’s well aware of how Enjolras’ attention has caught.
“I—” Then he catches himself. He looks at his table. “Nevermind.”
“No, it’s alright. Now is as good a time as any,” Grantaire says, stomach churning. Enjolras will know sooner or later, and they’ve got a long time before they can leave this room. “How much do you already know?”
“Nothing that matters if it’s not from you,” He tells Grantaire.
“You’re really something else,” Grantaire shakes his head. “Long story short, my parents were, technically still are, pretty bad Villains.”
“Mirror and Demise,” Enjolras says softly, as if not to startle. Grantaire flinches anyways.
“Yep. Good ol’ mom and dad,” He shuts his eyes for a few seconds. “I had no idea. Fucking secret identities, man. I was, what, twelve when I finally put it together. And what are you supposed to do in that position? There wasn’t ever any guide for when you learn your parents are straight up murderers.”
“What did you do?” Enjolras asks. Grantaire takes a deep breath.
“I called the cops,” Grantaire says. “Because that’s what you do when something bad happens. I ratted out my own parents. And I don’t feel bad about what I did. They weren’t nice. Weren’t all that terrible either. Just really shitty parents. Barely there, half the time. They got arrested after this showdown in the city, or something. Then Valjean, the fucking saint who beat them, took me in.”
“So people don’t give me too much shit over it,” Grantaire assures Enjolras. “Nobody would pick a fight with Valjean unless they wanted the sweet release of death and justice. Life went on, right up until Cosette manifested. Valjean never said anything, but I know what he thought. He probably thought,” Grantaire pitches his voice lower, “‘Shit, this is the kid of two villains and he’s going to inherit either one of their powers, or an unholy combination of both.’”
“That doesn’t sound like Valjean.”
“Yeah, I can’t really get his voice right.” That got a small laugh out of Enjolras. “That’s how I ended up here, just in case my powers come. And they haven’t, but if they did, it would be awful. Which I get. I really do. Evil might not be hereditary, but powers are.”
“Powers aren’t inherently bad,” Enjolras tells him, stupid piercing eyes looking so sincere. “No matter where they come from.”
“My dad could mirror any power and my mom literally sucked the lifeforce out of people.” Grantaire said slowly. “Please, be my guest and imagine any scenario where those powers could possibly be good. I might hate not having powers, but I hate the possibility of getting either of those. I don’t want to be useless but I don’t want to be evil—”
“Stop that. You’re neither.” Enjolras grabs Grantaire’s hand. That’s the second time he’s done that today. “You’re a good, talented, intelligent person. Powers or not, nothing changes that. Nothing will ever change that.”
It’s surreal having Enjolras, the golden hero, the weird kid who thinks The Great Mouse Detective was Disney’s cinematic magnum opus, the guy who stood on a platform and spoke, here holding his hand and telling Grantaire nice things. The room is really bright, illuminating Enjolras. How he looks, hair just freshly dried, wholehearted expression just for Grantaire to see.
Grantaire doesn’t have an ‘oh shit, I might like Enjolras’ moment. It’s a lot gentler than that. It doesn’t even feel like much of a surprise. It’s more of like when he’s found something he wasn’t really looking for. It’s less of ‘oh shit’ and more of just
“Alright, alright.” Grantaire says, pulling his hand from Enjolras’ grasp. “Thank you for your kind words. Really. They mean a lot. But this has been way too much emotion for me. We need to change the subject before I do something lame, like crying.”
“Crying is totally fine,” Enjolras smirks. He’s an asshole. Enjolras is an asshole. Grantaire can’t believe he might like an asshole.
“Shut up. Mundane subject, now.”
“Combeferre is planning on breaking into the school at night with Joly and Bossuet, sometime this month.” Enjolras tells him. “They’ll use Joly like a lamp to finally draw out Frederick.”
“Who the shit is Frederick?”
“The giant moth,” He says. “Ferre’s named it.”
“Our definition of mundane is really weird, you know.” Grantaire smiles.
Enjolras nods, “I think I like it like that.”
“Same here,” Grantaire says. “Well, come on. We have to figure out a way to catch Frederick before Combeferre does just to spite him. Put that Hero brain of yours to good use, man!”
Life post-epiphany goes exactly as it did pre-epiphany. Grantaire still goes to meetings. He still loves Tuesdays. He still stares at Enjolras periodically. That last bit is just done with a lot more conscious awareness.
“Hey,” Musichetta nudges him while Grantaire was thinking about how much Enjolras uses hand gestures when he talks. And how nice his hands are. “Just thought you would like to know that your inconspicuous staring is going unnoticed by literally just Enjolras and that Cosette is going to confront you about it in sixteen minutes.”
“Ugh, awesome.” He grumbles. “Wait, sixteen minutes?”
“Yeah,” Musichetta grins widely.
“New record!” Grantaire forgets about his tiny problems for a few seconds just to give Musichetta a fist bump.
“Grantaire,” Cosette says about sixteen minutes later after the meeting, eyes glinting. “When did this happen?”
“When did what happen?”
“This!” She points over to where Enjolras is packing his stuff.
Enjolras lifts his head, “Huh?”
“Nothing! It’s nothing.” Grantaire grabs Cosette’s arm and pulls her out of the gadget lab. Then, in a softer voice. “Cosette, it’s nothing.”
“You were kind of staring at him for the whole meeting,” Marius says because apparently he followed them out.
“Yeah, what Marius said.” She says. Marius lights up.
“Marius you’re gonna need somebody on your side when Cosette takes you home for dinner to meet Valjean, so I’d shut it.”
“Don’t be mean,” Cosette says. “We just want to help.”
“I don’t need help,” Grantaire crosses his arms. “I’m fine with pining from afar, never to be noticed.”
“Ha! You admitted there’s something,” She high fives Marius.
“I admitted no such thing.”
“What are you guys talking about?” Enjolras chooses that moment to give Grantaire a heart attack by walk out of the lab.
“Nothing. We’re leaving.” Grantaire claps a hand over Cosette’s mouth while he glares at Marius, just daring him to say something. “Have a nice weekend, Enjolras!”
Cosette doesn’t let it go.
“You should tell him,” She says later at dinner. “I’m pretty sure he feels the same way.”
“Cosette,” He puts his head into his hands.
“Hm? What’s this about?” Valjean asks.
Cosette smiles sweetly. “Grantaire has a crush on a boy.” Grantaire wants the floor to open up and eat him.
“Oh,” Valjean says, ready to shoot off into a responsible supportive dad speech. “That’s lovely. You should bring him over to dinner. As you know, I’m fine with the two of you dating as long as everybody is responsible and safe.”
“This conversation is not happening,” Grantaire covers his ears. “It isn’t. I’m erasing it from my brain as we speak.”
“Enjolras stares at you too, you know.” She says when they’re washing the dishes. “Like a lot.”
“I was not this insufferable with you and Marius.” Grantaire says dejectedly to his sponge.
“Yeah you were,” Cosette splashes him with water. “To Marius.”
“You should ask him to prom,” Cosette says in Grantaire’s room the moment he wakes up. She’s on his laptop playing Solitaire. He didn’t even know he had Solitaire.
“What the fuck?” Grantaire says.
“Joly, Bossuet, and Musichetta are going together.” She says. “Jehan and Eponine went dress shopping last week. It was awesome. You should ask Enjolras to be your date to prom.”
“What time is it?”
“Almost noon,” Cosette tells him. “Are you gonna ask him?”
“No, I’m going to work because you’re being terrible to me.”
Work was something Grantaire had insisted on the moment he could. If he was going to live under Valjean’s roof out of the goodness of that man’s saintly heart, Grantaire wanted to at least do something. That something ended up being waiting tables at this Chinese place downtown. It’s good work. The people are nice and the tips are good because he “has a cute face” whatever that means. It keeps him occupied on weekends and today he picked up an extra shift since he owed William a favor. If it gives him the excuse of escaping Cosette for a little longer, he’ll take it.
It’s around nine in the evening when people stop coming in and they start trickling out. Grantaire gets to work wiping down the tables when the door pushes open. To his surprise, Enjolras walks in looking scruffy and tired with a bunch of books under his arm.
“Hey there, golden boy,” Grantaire greets. Enjolras blinks at him blearily. “We’re closing in half an hour but you look too shitty for me to kick you out.”
“Grantaire?” Enjolras says. “What are you doing...here. In, uh.” Enjolras looks around as if he doesn’t really know where he is either.
“Dude, did you sleepwalk here? With your books?”
“No, I’m just. Tired.” He scratches his eye.
“Come on. Sit down before you collapse,” Grantaire pushes him into a booth. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I just needed to get out of the house.” Enjolras says, slouching over the table. “My parents and I got into a little fight`”
“And they kicked you out?”
“No, nothing like that.” Enjolras tells him. “I left. I needed to cool off. There’s only so much my dad can do with ice, and we really don’t want to set something on fire again. I’ll go back later. Or tomorrow.”
“This happen often?” Grantaire slides into the seat across from Enjolras. He can slack for a few minutes.
“Not really,” He turns his head to face Grantaire. “Usually I go over to Ferre’s, but he’s got Courf over and Jehan told me that I’ve apparently been cockblocking them for ages.”
“You sure have, dude.” Grantaire pats him on the head. Enjolras’ hair is very, very soft. “Stay here, I’ve got just the thing for you.”
Grantaire ducks into the empty kitchen and when he gets out, he’s got two fortune cookies in one hand and a tupperware of leftovers in the other.
“Catch,” He tosses a cookie to Enjolras. “On the house. Usually I bring them home for Cosette and Valjean, but they can survive a night.”
“Thanks,” Enjolras cracks open the fortune cookie while Grantaire sits down. “‘A different world cannot be built by indifferent people.’” Enjolras nods in approval, popping a bit of cookie into his mouth.
“Preach,” Grantaire says. He opens his cookie and reads it out loud. “‘To let true love remain unspoken is the quickest route to a heavy heart.’ Uh. Well that’s cheesy.” Grantaire says, resisting the urge to eat the fortune along with the cookie just to get rid of it. “There was one time when Musichetta was here and she spoiled all of the fortunes. I told her it was bad luck to do that.”
“Nah. She was just being a dick.” Grantaire says. “You wanna eat? I can go grab a fork real quick.”
Enjolras shakes his head. “I can heat it up later.”
“Well, well, well,” Grantaire leans back into the seat. “Using your powers outside of school before graduation. Didn’t take you for that type of rulebreaker.”
“Uh huh, I’m a true rebel.” Enjolras rolls his eyes. “Proud owner of a microwave. Hardcore stuff.”
“God, you’re such a nerd.” Grantaire flicks a piece of cookie at Enjolras, who laughs dodging it.
“R!” A voice sounds from the back. “我們快要關門了!”
“沒問題,” Grantaire yells back. “我自己關就好了.”
“Uh,” Enjolras says. He’s got that look on his face again. The one he had when Grantaire pulled the fire alarm. “Do you have to go?”
“Nah, I just told him I’d close up on my own. I can text Valjean to let him know I’ll be home a bit later,” Grantaire waves a hand dismissively. “It’s not really a hardship to hang out with you.”
“Right,” Enjolras says. He leans over and pinches the wick of the candle on the table, lighting it with a tiny flame.
“Nice one, matchstick.”
“It was dark,” Enjolras says, a faint flush on his face for some reason. “I needed the light anyways since I was planning on catching up on some stuff.” He places his books and pens on the table.
“Alpha nerd,” Grantaire snickers. He sees Enjolras’ brightly colored notes. “You are really enthusiastic with your highlighter aren’t you?”
“Color helps me absorb information,” Enjolras mutters, opening his history book.
“Oh my god, that thing is not supposed to be a coloring book,” Grantaire laughs. Enjolras throws a pen at him. Enjolras’ history book was lovingly highlighted to hell and back, pages worn, margins filled with notes.
Grantaire picks up the pen that was thrown on him and he starts doodling on a blank margin. Enjolras tilts his head to see.
“What are you drawing?”
“I drew you. See, he’s got angry eyebrows.” Grantaire turns the book around so he can see. “Pass me an orange pen.”
“Why?” Enjolras hands him the pen anyways, amused.
“So I can draw fire on you, obviously.” With a few quick motions, he draws a shaky upside down flame around the tiny Enjolras he’s drawn so it will look upright to Enjolras.
“It looks like I’m stuck in jello,” Enjolras laughs. Grantaire can’t help but stare. He’s seen Enjolras laugh countless of times, at meetings, with their friends, when Joly makes lame jokes. But now feels different. Alone in a restaurant downtown, candlelit, doodling dumb things.
“You’ll just have to blast your way out, then.” Grantaire hands him his pen back. When Enjolras takes it, their fingers brush against each other. It sends a shock down Grantaire’s arm.
He really likes Enjolras, he thinks. He wishes Enjolras would grab his hand again. He wouldn’t pull away, this time. He’d probably do something terrible like hold him back. When their fingers brush, Grantaire is just filled with this overwhelming want for what he is too afraid to go after. He yearns.
“Grantaire,” Enjolras says, shocked, pulling his hand away as if he were burned. He holds his hand to his chest.
A stab of pain fills his chest until Enjolras says again, “Grantaire, your hand.”
Grantaire, stunned, looks at his hand. His hand which is on fire.
His hand which is on fire.
“Holy shit,” Grantaire pulls his hand away from where it was scorching the table. He should be feeling pain right now. This should burn. But it doesn’t. It doesn’t hurt. “What the fuck. What the fuck.”
“Sink,” Enjolras stumbles out of the booth. “You need to get to a sink. You need water right now.”
Enjolras tries to grab his hand, the one that’s in fucking flames, but he doesn’t even get close to a grip before he’s pulling his hand back in pain. Which doesn’t make sense because Enjolras is fireproof.
“Grantaire, sink. Now!” Enjolras yells, pulling him out of his stupor.
They rush into the kitchen. Enjolras twists the knob of the faucet. Grantaire gets his hand under the water as soon as it’s running, but it’s not as helpful as he thought. The water is trying it’s best to extinguish the flame, but Grantaire’s hand is not having it, the smell of smoke filling the room.
“Stop it,” Grantaire tells his hand, panic in his voice. “Stop it. Stop being on fire. That doesn’t even make sense. Fire isn’t my power.”
“It isn’t. It’s mine,” Enjolras says, realization dawning. He looks at his hand, the one that tried to grab Grantaire, the one that’s red with burn. “And I think you took it.”
“Oh no,” Grantaire says. His head is spinning. He sort of wants to throw up. “No. no, no, no, no. I don’t want it. It’s not mine. It’s—”
“What did you say your parents’ powers were again?” Enjolras asks, probably going for calm, but his words send Grantaire into a panic.
His dad could mirror powers. His mom sucked the lifeforce out of people.
“Oh my god,” Grantaire says. Suddenly, it’s very hard to get air into his lungs.
“Okay, we’re going to calm down.” Enjolras says when Grantaire starts wheezing terribly. “It’s alright.” Grantaire sees his hand go for Grantaire’s back.
“No, do not touch me. Enjolras I could hurt you. I already have.” The flames from his hands intensify in power, smoke billowing out of the sink.
“Okay,” Enjolras puts his hands up. “But you need to breathe. You need to calm down. My fire is connected to my emotions remember? If you have my powers, the only way to get it to stop is to breathe. Look at me.”
Grantaire does. Enjolras isn’t touching him, but he’s looking straight into his eyes, shoulders rising and falling slowly with each breath. He gestures for Grantaire to follow.
“Breathe in, then out. Good. Like that.” He says. Grantaire tries his best to get his lungs working instead of stuttering on each breath. Slowly, his hand extinguishes. “You’re doing great.”
He feels Enjolras’ hand on his back again.
“Enjolras,” He flinches. Grantaire wants some form of physical comfort right now, but then he remembers Enjolras’ burns.
“I trust you,” Enjolras says.
“Good for you, but I don’t trust me.” Grantaire sighs. “Just. Grab a pair of oven mitts. Then you can touch me. God, how does this even work.”
“Maybe it wears off?” Enjolras says, slipping on a pair of oven mitts with a wince.
“You know, you’re doing pretty well for a dude who just got his powers stolen. And you maybe might not get them back, oh god.”
“Grantaire, that isn’t helping.”
“Okay, okay. Logical thoughts! I can’t stay here forever with my hands in the sink.” Grantaire says, pulling his now normal hand out of the water. He can feel it, though. He can feel the fire. There’s a part of him now that knows he could have the flames back in an instant.
“We should probably leave,” Enjolras tells him. His oven mitt clad hand is on Grantaire’s back now, stroking him in reassuring circles.
“Where the hell can we go?”
“My parents probably won’t like this,” Enjolras says. “Combeferre wouldn’t mind, if it was an emergency.”
“No. Nope. I don’t want anybody knowing.” Grantaire takes a deep breath. “Okay. Fine. Looks like we’re doing this.” He looks at Enjolras. “How good are your climbing skills?”
“If it makes you feel any better,” Grantaire says to Enjolras who is doing a terrible job of hiding in the bushes. “This isn’t the first time I had to break into my own house.”
“Why can’t we just walk in like normal people,” Enjolras huffs. “Because it’s your house.”
“Because Valjean will open the door and he’ll ask what’s going on,” Grantaire looks up at where the window to his room is. “And I don’t want him to know that I stole your power.” Panic starts to buzz in Grantaire’s head again. Panic feels a lot like fire. “And that there’s a possibility I might never be able to give it ba—”
“Calm down or else,” Enjolras points the nozzle of the fire extinguisher at him.
Smoke spills out of Grantaire’s hands instead of flames by utter fear of getting shot at with a fire extinguisher.
“Huh,” Grantaire looks at his hands, then at Enjolras. “I told you bringing that thing was going to be useful.”
“It’s going to be tough scaling the side of your house with it,” Enjolras stands from the bushes.
“Shut up, dude. I’ve wanted to steal a fire extinguisher since sixth grade.” Grantaire pulls on the gutter pipe that runs up the house. “If I’m going to have to deal with this shitty power, I’m going through my bucket list.”
“You are so weird,” Enjolras says fondly as Grantaire starts climbing. “How am I going to climb up there with a fire extinguisher and oven mitts?”
“Leave the fire extinguisher and take off the mitts. The pipe won’t catch on fire,” Grantaire pulls himself up along the pipe.
“Are you guys trying to be the worst at being subtle?” Cosette asks, floating down to Grantaire who squawks and just barely holds on to the pipe.
“Cosette!” Grantaire slides down the pipe.
“Uh,” Enjolras says. “This isn’t what it looks like.”
Grantaire scrunches his eyebrows in confusion, eyes darting to the fire extinguisher and oven mitts. “Okay, even I’m having trouble trying to figure out what this could possibly look like. Barbeque heist gone wrong?”
“Do you need help?” Cosette lands gracefully. “Papa isn’t home. They called in a robbery a few minutes ago.”
“Front door it is, then.” Grantaire says.
“Oh, thank god.” Enjolras sighs.
The moment Cosette lets them in, Grantaire is pulling Enjolras by the arm upstairs to his room, talking over Cosette’s questions the entire time.
“Sorry, Cosette! Enjolras and I have a lot of very, truly important things to talk about that don’t concern you. Goodnight!” He slams his door shut.
Grantaire turns around, leans against the door, and is met with the sight of Enjolras in his room. Enjolras in his messy room, with his shitty band posters and doodles and half finished books strewn around like nobody’s business. Enjolras who looks awkward and determined just like he did when he was apologizing way back when. Enjolras who looks ridiculous in those oven mitts. Enjolras who still doesn’t have his powers back.
“Okay,” Grantaire tells himself, sliding down the door. Now that they’re not doing something fun like sneaking back into his own house, the real stuff comes crashing back down. He can feel it. The unnatural warmth in his body that isn’t his. “I still have your powers.”
Enjolras places the fire extinguisher down with a soft thunk. “You do. And you didn’t tell Cosette.”
“I don’t want her to know,” He shrugs. “I don’t want anybody to know. I took your powers, man. I’m a thief.”
Enjolras crouches down. “Then give them back.”
Grantaire lifts his head to meet Enjolras’ gaze. “What?”
“Give them back,” He says. “I remember now. When it happened, when you took my powers, you touched me. Just for a few seconds. Maybe if—” Enjolras pulls off the oven mitts.
“I don’t think so, golden boy.” Grantaire hides his hands behind his back. “What if I burn you? What if it doesn’t work? What if I—” Can’t.
“Grantaire,” Enjolras says, holding his hand out. “We’ll never know if we don’t try.”
Slowly, Grantaire takes a few breaths, and gives Enjolras his hand.
Enjolras snaps with his other hand. No fire. Grantaire already knew that. The warmth is still with him. The fire is still with him. The only thing keeping him from panic is the fact that he’d burn Enjolras again.
“What were you thinking?” Enjolras asks. His hand shifts, holding Grantaire’s more surely. “When you took it?”
“I was—” Grantaire stops himself. I was thinking about how much I wanted you. “I don’t know. It’s hard to say.”
“Just try to think of the opposite of it,” Enjolras says. “Powers aren’t logical. Your best friend glows. Maybe it could work.”
“Okay,” Grantaire says.
It’s easier said than done. The opposite of wanting Enjolras is something his brain can’t even begin to comprehend, so that’s out the window. He tries to focus on something else. He wants, desperately. He yearns. But he also wants Enjolras to want him. Grantaire wants to be able to give, if Enjolras will permit it. His time, his energy. Everything.
Grantaire twitches a bit when it happens. A little jolt coursing out of him. Enjolras doesn’t let go of his hand, but he does snap again with the other.
A tiny, candle sized flame floats above his thumb.
Enjolras’ resulting smile is brighter than any flame he’s ever made.
“I didn’t actually think that would work,” Grantaire yawns, suddenly feeling very tired. “Shit, is this what it feels like to have powers? This sucks.”
“Yeah, I was exhausted when I manifested.” Enjolras hefts him up. “Come on.”
Grantaire can’t help but lean into Enjolras. He might pass out any second now and Enjolras feels nice, sue him.
Enjolras deposits Grantaire into his bed. Then he lingers awkwardly.
“I can take the couch,” Enjolras says. When Grantaire tries to protest, Enjolras talks over him. “You’re tired, Grantaire. Just go to sleep.”
Lacking the energy to do anything else, he does.
When Grantaire wakes up his first thought isn’t to panic about the previous day’s events. Sure, it’s at the back of his head, tugging at his sleeve, demanding attention. But the first thing he cares to think about instead when he blinks the sleep from his eyes is, where’s Enjolras?
He gets his answer when he stumbles himself downstairs to see the most awful breakfast tableau right before his eyes.
Valjean is at the table, munching on waffles, staring daggers at Enjolras who sits on the other side. Enjolras is doing his damn best at meeting Valjean’s eyes. Cosette sits in between them, huge grin on her face only widening when she sees Grantaire.
“Good morning, Grantaire.” She says.
“Good morning, uh. Everybody.” Grantaire says, not quite sure what to do. A big part of him wants to just grab a waffle and lock himself in his room ‘til Monday, but he’s not that much of a dick. Grantaire can’t leave Enjolras to the mercy of Valjean and Cosette. He’d never be able to forgive himself.
“Good morning, R.” Valjean says. He doesn’t turn from Enjolras. “I found your boyfriend asleep on the couch. And then he made us waffles.”
“I—That. That is not what is happening.” Grantaire says, politely ignoring the word ‘boyfriend’. He’s got enough to freak out about. That particular can of worms can wait. He looks at Enjolras in disbelief. “You made them waffles?”
“I didn’t know what else to do,” Enjolras says as if it’s just common courtesy to make waffles for people he doesn’t know.
“Okay, that’s. Nevermind. Enjolras was here because I manifested last night and I needed to return something of his,” Grantaire says in one breath.
“Grantaire, that’s awesome!” Cosette vaults herself over the table, flying over to tackle Grantaire into a hug. He stiffens, worried he might take Cosette’s flight, but he relaxes when she stays airborne. She holds him at arm’s length. “Well? What is it?”
“I sort of steal other people’s powers,” Grantaire mumbles. “Sort of shitty.”
“Borrow,” Enjolras says. “You borrow other people’s powers. You gave mine back, remember?”
“That is so cool,” Cosette says earnestly.
“Good job,” Valjean finally tears his eyes away from Enjolras to give Grantaire a smile. Enjolras slumps minutely in relief. “I am so proud of you, Grantaire.”
“Maybe delay the pride and happiness for a bit?” Grantaire scratches the back of his head, trying to ignore the bloom of warmth in his chest. “I don’t know how to control it. It’s still dangerous.”
“Grantaire, you’re a part of the ABC.” Enjolras tells him. “The moment you tell them, they’ll be designing ridiculous exercises for you. I don’t think you have to worry about that.”
“Oh my god,” Grantaire says, smiling at the thought of all his friends helping him through this. It might not be terrible.
“We should have a party,” Cosette says. “To celebrate. Isn’t that right, Enjolras?”
“Uh, yeah. Alright.” Enjolras says, completely blindsided.
“We are not having party,” Grantaire looks to Valjean for help. “Tell her we’re not having a party.”
“I suppose you can have a party,” Valjean says while Cosette grins smugly.
“Sibling favoritism!” Grantaire gasps dramatically. “You pander to her because I’m adopted.”
“You’re both adopted.”
At the table, Enjolras laughs quietly at his waffle.
When he tells the ABC, they are beyond enthusiasm. Oh no, they go right past enthusiasm and launch themselves into ecstatic planning. Grantaire would honestly be disappointed if they reacted with anything less.
“The issue on the table,” Courfeyrac says as he sits on a table, “Is Grantaire’s newly discovered power.”
There’s applause all around the lab. Grantaire is pretty sure Bahorel yells, “Hear, hear!”
“Thank you, thank you. There’s enough of me to go around, everybody.” Grantaire stands, giving the most regal bow he can without falling off his stool. “Please continue, Courf. I’m looking forward for what convoluted things await me in the future.”
“Well, all we know for sure with what you’ve told us. Your power consists of borrowing other powers, since you’re capable of taking it and giving it back. You’ve only used it once. You borrowed Enjolras’ power. Physical contact seems to be a prerequisite.” Courfeyrac lists.
“I can touch people and not steal their powers though,” Grantaire shrugs.
“What we need to figure out now is what the additional factor is.” Combeferre says.
“So since we don’t know much,” Musichetta says, small grin beginning to form. “It could be said that everything is….touch and go.”
“I’m so in love with you,” Bossuet says over the groans of everybody and the loud, losing-his-shit laughter of Joly.
It’s hard for Grantaire to feel bad about his power when all his friends are so happy over it. Bahorel high fives him more than strictly necessary, before asking him if he’s feeling hamster-y. Joly insists on holding his hand whenever they’re together, just in case. And Grantaire lets himself enjoy it. He’s always been a sucker for physical contact, and if his new power will help with that, he sure won’t deny himself.
What he will do, though, is make sure his power doesn’t get even remotely close to the powers of his friends.
“I know you’re hesitating,” Enjolras tells him that Tuesday when they’re walking to the lab.
“Hm? What was that?” Grantaire tries, hoping Enjolras will leave it.
“With your power,” He says. “You’re letting people touch you, but you’re holding back.”
“I’m not,” Grantaire tells him, but Enjolras can see through his bullshit by now. “Okay, fine. Maybe I am.”
“You know what the additional factor is, don’t you?” Grantaire’s silence is answer enough. “Why are you holding back?”
“God, I don’t know what to tell you. My power. It’s-—” What are you so afraid of? “Scary. If I do it wrong.”
“That’s exactly why you need practice, Grantaire.” Enjolras huffs. The lab is just a few steps away. If Grantaire can just— “You know what? You can’t keep holding yourself back.”
And Enjolras grabs his hand. So much for the gadget lab.
Enjolras moves so that they’re face to face. Grantaire’s heart is beating like crazy. Enjolras’ hand is warm, Grantaire notes.
“Take it,” Enjolras says, and it’s so, so easy.
Grantaire holds his other hand up and wills a small flame, dancing, almost put out by just Grantaire’s breath.
“Nice,” Enjolras smiles at the flame. He gives Grantaire’s hand a little squeeze. “Now give it back.”
Shifting his thoughts from want to give is like flipping the same coin. In an instant, the flame is gone. Enjolras opens his other palm and shows Grantaire a small flame like the one he made.
“You can do it,” Enjolras says confidently. He blows out the flame.
Grantaire is in love with this ridiculous kid.
“Oh my god,” A stunned Jehan watches from the doorway of the lab. Enjolras doesn’t let go of his hand. “Take mine next!”
When Grantaire finally lets his power loose, he has to admit it’s pretty cool. Every power has a different feel to it. If Enjolras’ had this warmth, Joly’s is just so full of light he’s shocked into laughter when he takes it. Bossuet’s makes the world look a whole brighter than it is, both literally and metaphorically.
(“You have the eyes of a nocturnal animal,” Grantaire says as he squints at everything.)
Combeferre’s is interesting because he has this itch under his skin to take something apart and build something that shoots laser beams. He uses Combeferre’s power to fix the garbage disposal. Grantaire takes Cosette’s by accident after she nags him about not being allowed on the roof. He downright refuses to take Courfeyrac’’s power. If Grantaire sees another one of himself, he’d punch him out of principle.
All things considered, it’s actually pretty fun. It takes a while, but slowly, his power stops feeling like stealing and more like sharing.
Cosette, not one to forget a thing, gets her party.
To call it a party would be cute. It’s more of a small, friendly get together. Just Grantaire, all his friends, some booze Jehan and Bahorel expertly smuggled in after Valjean left for Hero things, and lots of games. After the first hour, Grantaire decrees that Enjolras and Combeferre are not allowed to play Monopoly for reasons. Shortly after that, everybody decrees that Musichetta is not allowed to play Uno lest she breaks friendships.
Grantaire slips away into the kitchen as Courfeyrac yells in outrage about divorcing Combeferre over that +4 card.
He fetches a cupcake, congratulatory gift from Feuilly, with a smile on his face when he hears him.
“Skipping out on your own party?” Enjolras asks him, leaning against the kitchen counter.
“Technically, it’s not my party. It’s Cosette’s. I’m just the scapegoat,” He takes bite of his cupcake and groans. “Fuck, have you tried these yet? Feuilly is a red velvet god.”
“Not yet,” Enjolras runs a hand through his hair, face flushed. “You’ve got a little.” Then Enjolras steps forward and wipes icing off the corner of Grantaire’s mouth.
The kitchen feels really small, all of a sudden.
“Thanks,” Grantaire croaks. Enjolras licks the icing off his thumb, seemingly unaware with how it’s making Grantaire’s brain explode.
“That is good,” Enjolras hums. “You going back?”
“Yeah, in a bit.” Grantaire says. “The cupcake was an excuse. I sort of needed some air.”
Enjolras nods. “But you’re okay, right?”
“Dude, more than okay. All my awesome friends are here having fun and being happy.” Grantaire finishes the cupcake. “It’s generally gone a whole lot better than I’ve ever imagined it.”
“How so?” Enjolras asks. In the dim light coming from the living room, Grantaire can see the easy smile on Enjolras’ face. The kind that happens when you’re not paying attention.
“Well, I always figured that if I got a power, I’d hate it. And i’d hate myself too, just to be consistent.” Grantaire shrugs. “But it’s hard to hate it or think it’s evil when you guys are here thinking it’s the best thing ever.”
“It is a pretty cool power,” Enjolras says. “I wouldn’t call it the best, though.”
“Yeah, you wouldn’t, golden boy.”
Enjolras is staring at him. It’s the sprinkler look. Grantaire still hasn’t figured out what it means.
“What?” Grantaire says. “Do I still have icing on my face.”
“No. But I’m going to ask you something, if that’s alright?” Enjolras steps forward.
“I mean,” Grantaire backs up instinctively, back meeting the fridge. “As long as it isn’t murder, or something, I guess.”
Enjolras is close enough to touch now. His fingers itch to feel his fire. “Can I kiss you?”
Grantaire’s brain stops.
“Can I kiss you?” He repeats. Grantaire can’t take his eyes off of Enjolras’. Grantaire is looking for the catch, the punchline, but he finds nothing. All he sees is Enjolras, true as always. “It’s a yes or no question, Grantaire.”
“It’s—I. I cannot believe. I,” Grantaire stutters. He takes a deep breath and hopes that his next word is coherent. Grantaire says, “Yes.”
Grantaire never imagined it, never dared to imagine it. But when Enjolras leans in, presses his lips against Grantaire’s, it isn’t what he expected. It takes his breath away, but Grantaire also notices that Enjolras’ hands hover over his waist.
Enjolras, Grantaire notes, is nervous.
And that just won’t do.
Feeling bold, he takes Enjolras (warm, very warm) hands and places them on his waist, pulling Enjolras closer. Enjolras gasps and Grantaire takes that as a chance to lick into his mouth, red velvet still on his tongue. If the kiss took his breath away before, consider him dead with what’s happening now. Grantaire feels lightheaded, snaking his arms around Enjolras’ neck so that he doesn’t slide down the fridge.
He doesn’t do it on purpose, but his brain is just filled with a constant stream of Enjolras, that Grantaire takes his power. His fire doesn’t jump to Grantaire so much as melt into him. Slowly. Overwhelmingly. When Grantaire gives it back, easy as breathing, Enjolras groans into his mouth, holding him tighter. This is something else, Grantaire thinks. This is something else altogether.
Grantaire is the one to pull back first because he wasn’t joking about the breathless thing. He pulls his head back an inch, resting his forehead on Enjolras’ shoulder.
“So,” Grantaire says. “What was that?”
“That was a kiss,” Enjolras answers simply. His thumb is rubbing soothing circles into his hip. It’s not helping Grantaire catch his breath at all.
“No, I meant.” He leans his head up to look at Enjolras. “What is this? Why did you kiss me?”
“What kind of question is that?”
“A reasonable one. Now give me a reasonable answer or I’ll chalk this up to drunk shenanigans.”
“I didn’t drink,” Enjolras says. “And I like you. A lot.”
“That’s really weird,” Grantaire tells him but he’s bursting with joy anyways. There’s a huge possibility, a huge what if that’s on the brink of being uncovered. It feels like a horizon.
“No it isn’t,” Enjolras says petulantly. Grantaire can’t help but smile and kiss him again, briefly. When he pulls back, Enjolras is smiling too.
“I like you a lot too,” He tells Enjolras.
“Do you want to date?” Enjolras asks him. “Because I’d like to date. I’d like to date you.”
“I’m an awful person,” Is what comes blundering out of Grantaire’s mouth. Thanks a lot, insecurities. We totally needed that in this conversation. “I mean, you’re great and I’m just sarcastic most of the time.”
“You’re underselling yourself,” Enjolras tells him, leaning into to pepper kisses along his jaw. “But I won’t give you the ego boost of enumerating all your good qualities. Just know that there a lot. Is that a yes?”
“To what?” Grantaire says dazedly. “Sorry it’s hard to pay attention when you’re doing that.”
“Yes. It’s a yes, a one hundred percent yes. Jesus, you’re going to have to stop if you want coherent words from me.”
Enjolras pulls back with a smirk. “Do you want to go prom with me?”
“Oh my god, this is so surreal.” Grantaire laughs, running a hand up Enjolras’ very soft hair, probably messing it up irredeemably. “Yes, Enjolras. I’ll go to the stupid Sky High prom with you. It’s going to be so awesome with all the lame dancing.”
Enjolras brings a hand up to cup his face, “I think I’d like lame dancing.”
“Then we’re going to do the lame dancing,” Grantaire says. Enjolras’ eyes are trained to something on Grantaire left. He looks like he wants to laugh quite badly. “Why? What is it?”
“Here,” Enjolras plucks what was apparently a note taped to the fridge.
“‘You guys are gross, but congrats,’” Grantaire reads. “‘Sincerely, Eponine. P.S. You have ten minutes until I stop covering for you.’ Eponine is such a champ.” Grantaire grabs Enjolras hand and pulls him out of the kitchen. “Come on.”
“Where to?” Enjolras laces his fingers with Grantaire’s.
“I don’t know,” Grantaire admits. “Somewhere where we get more than ten minutes.”
“Someone’s feeling a little ambitious. I don’t think we can escape our friends for that long.”
“We’ll never know if we don’t try, golden boy.” Grantaire tells him. Enjolras’ resulting laugh is something that reverberates through Grantaire. Like the feeling of fire under his skin. High and bright.
the title is from Everybody Wants To Rule The World which was coincidentally the first song in Sky High. i mean "Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down." how could i resist?? runner up for the title included "Too Hot, Hot Damn" and "Sharing is Caring" both of which i didnt use bc i like to pretend im a dignified person. it was a close match.
just to absolve myself of my sins, i know no mandarin. at all. those two lines were translated via internet and online dictionary. sorry. EDIT 4/20/16: thank you to the lovely Heralis for correcting the mandarin!!
im actualbird on tumblr. come say hi!
Chapter 2: Extras
In which a moth is caught, superhero names are made, and Grantaire and Enjolras get to have their lame dance.
some ppl wanted a sequel but all i have are bunch (very, very silly) scenes that ended up in my outline but didnt make logical sense in the original fic’s narrative, all haphazardly strung together by some requests ive seen here and there (i read every comment. i read every tag on a reblog. i see u guys). i figured it would b a waste to let those silly things catch dust in my google docs.
picks up after the fic.
i hope you enjoy!!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Eponine wasn’t planning on spending her Saturday night getting involved in her friends’ love lives, but Courfeyrac offered her unlimited jellybeans, that really nice purple plaid he owns, and three pairs of socks of her choosing.
It was a pretty good deal. She was looking forward to demanding jellybeans from Courf at inconvenient times. So Eponine got to work. She easily swipes the keys from an unsuspecting janitor and a bus driver. She lends Courfeyrac an old dog carrier. She pointedly does not tell Combeferre how his boyfriend stole his moth catching plan so that he can give Ferre the moth himself in some weird romantic gesture.
Just think about the jellybeans, Ep. Think about the jellybeans.
Or more importantly, think about landing this damn bus.
“This is the most illegal thing I’ve ever done in my whole life,” Joly says giddily when Eponine finally pulls the brakes of the bus to a full stop.
“Why do you sound so happy about that?” She unbuckles her seatbelt and turns around.
“Because of the thrill! The excitement,” Joly bounces in his seat, smiling, seemingly unscathed by the bumpy ride. “Right, Bossuet?
“Yep,” Bossuet croaks out, clutching his seatbelt. “Absolutely. Thrill and excitement. Lemme just reacquaint myself with the feeling of safety and gravity before we have any more thrill and excitement.”
“Hey, you guys said you needed a driver. You got one,” Eponine smirks. “Not my fault none of you know how to drive flying vehicles yet.”
“Now, I honestly never want to try.” Courfeyrac groans, sprawled against the backseat.
“It was fun,” Joly reassures her. “Like a rollercoaster.”
“Thanks,” Eponine says. Of all the things people have described her driving as, fun was not one of them. Joly never ceases to surprise, though. None of them ever do.
“Well, come on,” Joly stands, pulling out the dog carrier. “Let’s go catch us a giant mutated moth.”
“His name,” Courfeyrac stands, stumbling, “Is Frederick. And I expect each and every one of you to call him by the name Combeferre christened him with.”
“What if the moth’s a girl?” Eponine asks, going over to unbuckle Bossuet’s seatbelt for him lest he sit there for the whole night.
“She’ll still be Frederick,” Courfeyrac says, finality in his tone. Relationships are weird.
They get off the bus, and Eponine winces a bit at the obvious tire track marks skidded into the road. Admittedly, not her best landing. But to be fair, it was dark.
“I brought salt,” Joly says while Eponine pulls a ring of keys out of her pocket, trying to find the one that fits the lock.
“For demons?” Bossuet sets the dog carrier down and sits on it.
“No, for Frederick.” Joly says, tossing what is probably a salt shaker into the dog carrier. “I researched and moths are attracted to light and sodium. They’re basically anti-demons.”
“Or you know, giant moths.” Eponine mutters, finally finding the right key. She pushes the door open and is met with a very dark hallway. “Nightlight, it’s your time to shine.”
“Damn right it is,” Joly starts up his glow, illuminating the hallway.
“It’s my time to stare into the abyss,” Bossuet takes the lead, walking ahead where Joly’s glow can’t reach, keeping an eye out for anything that looks like a giant moth. “While the abyss stares back.
“You know,” She says as she and Courfeyrac start dragging the dog carrier along. “Most people would just get flowers. Or like, a dumb sign with glitter that says ‘Will you go to prom with me’.”
“Ferre has terrible allergies,” Courfeyrac tells her. “He’d die if I got him flowers. Jehan suggested I get him a cactus or a fern, but he’s got a terrible memory too, so he’d forget to water it. And just for the record, the sign sounds like an awesome idea. I’m totally making a sign.” Courfeyrac pauses to think for a moment. “How hard do you think it would be to strap a sign on Frederick?”
“I don’t think I have the experience needed to answer that question,” Eponine rolls her eyes, but she’s smiling anyways. It’s really hard not to with her friends.
“I, for one, think this is all very romantic.” Bossuet tells them. “You know what they say. The way to a man’s heart is through the giant moth he indirectly created.”
“Frederick,” Courf corrects.
“Frederick. My bad.”
“Christ, it’s like the thing’s your kid.” She says. “And you and Ferre are the doting parents. You guys are disgusting.”
“I mean, I wouldn’t say that Ferre and I are the most disgusting couple at the moment,” Courfeyrac retorts.
“Enjolras and R don’t count,” Joly says. “They still think they’re doing a good job of keeping their relationship secret.”
“Which they aren’t,” Courfeyrac laughs.
“They really, really aren’t,” Bossuet hums. “But they’ll tell us when they’re ready. Or when they realize that their behavior isn’t ‘just friends’ behavior.”
“Why go to all the trouble, though?” Eponine huffs, setting the dog carrier down a bit. Bossuet and Joly wait up ahead. “I mean, I know they know that I know.”
When she walked into the kitchen a few days ago at Grantaire’s celebratory party, all she wanted was a couple of Feuilly’s legendary cupcakes. Not an eyeful of two of her friends lovingly making out against the fridge.
“Yeah, but do they know we know you know, thus knowing via transitive property?” Joly asks.
“You lost me there,” Eponine tells him.
“It’s a test of patience,” Courfeyrac says. “I’m just not sure I can act believably surprised when they tell us.”
Eponine clutches her chest and gasps as dramatically as she can, “What a shock. I thought the frequent hand holding and loving gazes were platonic.”
“Oh the scandal!” Joly flops into her arms as she and Courfeyrac snicker.
Bossuet is oddly quiet, eyes focused ahead in the hallway.
There is a rustle.
“Uh, Courf.” Bossuet says. “I think Frederick is here.”
Courfeyrac perks up. “Finally. Come here Frederick!”
“I don’t remember him being that big,” Bossuet says cautiously.
“He’s a growing boy,” Joly grabs a handful of salt from his pocket, throwing it into the air with a flourish like it’s confetti.
“No, I mean he’s really big,” Bossuet says, stepping back behind Eponine. “Okay, here he comes. Okay. Shit. Shit.”
Eponine learns at that exact moment that her awareness distortion works on moths too.
“Jehan!” Bahorel greets when Jehan opens the door. “I’m going to ask you a question but you have to promise not to think it’s weird.”
“That’s the worst way to introduce any question ever,” Jehan steps into Courfeyrac’s room, digging into his messenger bag, pulling out their grappling hook. “First thing’s first, I tried my best, but it still doesn’t want to shoot. I didn’t want to crack it open without you guys.”
“Gimme it,” Courfeyrac reaches for it. Jehan hands it over before pushing some of Courf’s pillows to the floor.
He aims the grappling hook at his window and gives the trigger a few clicks. The hook stays firmly in place.
“Dude, your window isn’t even open.” Bahorel says. Jehan has made himself a pillow nest on the floor. “You have a lot of faith in our incompetence.”
“Pretty much,” Courfeyrac flops back down onto his bed. Bahorel and Jehan were both the best and worst gadget groupmates Courfeyrac has ever had the pleasure of working with. All three of them were terrible at building anything functional, but with the same level of ineptitude that there was never any conflict. Of course, that also meant that there was never any progress with projects.
Courfeyrac shakes the grappling hook, holding it to his ear. “There’s something rattling inside.”
“Yeah, I think a spring came loose.” Jehan tells him.
“If you open a panel, maybe I could squeeze in and fix it without having to take the whole thing apart.” Bahorel suggests.
“Good plan. Hand me a screwdriver. They’re by the desk,” Courfeyrac holds his hand out.
Bahorel gets up, digging around Courfeyrac’s desk for a screwdriver. “One person should not own this much glitter glue.”
“There’s no such thing as too much glitter glue.” Jehan says.
“I’m working on a thing,” Courfeyrac waves his hand dismissively.
Bahorel knocks something off his desk and it thunks loudly on the dog carrier on the floor. The nightmarish screech is loud and clear even under the white sheet Courfeyrac put over him.
“What the hell was that?” Bahorel slips the sheet off. “Holy fuck.”
“Ooh! Is this Frederick?” Jehan inches closer to the dog carrier, looking Frederick in his freakish eyes, while Bahorel basically vaults to the opposite corner of the room. Thankfully, he was able to get a screwdriver. “He’s lovely.”
“Oh god, please put the sheet back on.” Bahorel says, handing Courfeyrac the screwdriver.
“Why?” Courfeyrac says, protective. That’s Courfeyrac’s monstrous moth son he’s talking about. “What has he ever done to you? What do you have against him?”
“Nothing, swear.” Bahorel holds his hands up placatingly. Courfeyrac huffs and starts unscrewing a panel off the grappling hook. “I just don’t like bugs. They freak me out when they’re normal sized. This is a bit more than normal sized.”
“Just think of him like a puppy,” Courfeyrac says. “With a proboscis.”
“What do you even feed him?” Jehan scritches Frederick between the eyes through the bars.
“Sugar water,” Courfeyrac gets a screw off. “Or fruit juices. Nectar stuff, you know.”
A vine slithers out of Jehan’s bag, lemon growing at the end. Jehan plucks it off, holding it in front Frederick. Frederick watches, entranced.
“Do you have soil in your bag?” Bahorel asks.
“Of course I do,” Jehan answers simply as if all his bags have soil in them, which, okay, sounds plausible for Jehan. “What was that weird question you were gonna ask me?”
“Oh yeah,” Bahorel scratches his head. “Well, hypothetically, could you grow weed?”
Courfeyrac jerks, accidentally flicking the last screw off somewhere behind his bed.
“It’s possible,” Jehan turns to Bahorel looking very pensive. “But I couldn’t like, grow any right at this moment. I’d need some, for starters.”
“Yeah! And I’d need to practice too. I can’t just grow a plant I know nothing about. That’s like asking me to speak a whole new language.”
“A weed language,” Courfeyrac says slowly.
“A weed language,” Jehan nods. “So the answer is, hypothetically, yes. But in reality, I’d need weed.”
Courfeyrac, engrossed in this conversation, did not hear the loud thumping against the stairs outside his room until it was too late. Enjolras throws the door open and bursts into the room.
“Why does the whole school think Grantaire and I are dating?” He says.
It’s practice that keeps Courfeyrac from yelling because you are.
So Jehan says it instead. “Because you are.”
Enjolras looks around, now aware that it isn’t just Courfeyrac in the room. “Oh, sorry. Bad time?”
“Nah, just a project.” Bahorel says as he shifts into a hamster. Courfeyrac scoops him up and and places him in the open panel. “Grappling hook.”
“We’ll be testing those out next week.” Enjolras says, standing awkwardly by the door. Then his brain catches up, bless him. “Wait you guys know?”
“Cat’s out of the bag,” Bahorel’s tiny voice echoes from the grappling hook. “But the cat was never in the bag to begin with. There was never even a bag. There was just a very affectionate cat wandering around, and we all just pretended not to notice it in case the cat got scared.”
“Enj, sit down before you sprain something.” Courfeyrac pats his bed. Enjolras dutifully crosses over Jehan’s pillow nest and sits on the bed.
“Hey I think I found the spring!” Bahorel says. “It’s lodged behind this piece of shit I’m pretty sure is not in the blueprints.”
Jehan moves over to Courfeyrac’s desk to fetch the blueprints, giving Enjolras a perfect view of Frederick.
Thankfully, Enjolras just jolts slightly instead of shooting a fireball in surprise “Is that Frederick?”
“Yeah,” Jehan tosses the blueprints at Courfeyrac. “He’s adorable isn’t he?”
“That’s certainly,” Enjolras says. “An adjective.”
“He’s just plain freaky, Enjolras. Don’t worry. You can say it.” Bahorel pokes his head out of the panel. “Blueprints?”
“Sorry, but I’m still stuck on the fact that all of you knew?” Enjolras says. “That Grantaire and I are dating? We never even told anybody yet.”
“Okay, wait up. Two different things are going on right now.” Courfeyrac shuts his eyes and thinks two, two, two with all his might. When he opens his eyes, there are three of him. “Close enough.”
One goes over to Bahorel, reading out the blueprints, while the other just sits down on the floor next to Jehan’s pillow nest. Courfeyrac himself focuses all his attention on Enjolras, something he can do with much more ease now that there’s more of him. He always tries to explain to Enjolras that duplicating doesn’t make his thoughts more complicated. Quite the opposite, actually. Courf’s brain is always going in several directions at once. Duplicating gives him the handy ability of giving each of those thoughts a body to actually run around in.
“Alrighty, bud. Start from the beginning,” He tells Enjolras, only vaguely aware of how Jehan is rearranging the extra Courfeyrac along with his pillow nest. “Tell Courf what’s ailing you.”
“The whole school thinks—knows we’re dating,” Enjolras says,
“Yes, that is because you are. We’ve established that.” Coufeyrac nods. “You’re also not as subtle as you think you are.”
“Really?” Enjolras tilts his head, genuinely confused.
“Enj, you basically never let go of Grantaire’s hand when you’re together.”
“But we did that before we were dating.”
“That doesn’t actually help your case,” Courfeyrac pats Enjolras’ leg. “Does it bother you, though? That people know? That we know?”
“No! Not at all,” Enjolras says. “We just thought that keeping it a secret would be easier than explaining. At least for now.”
“And you thought the best way to do that was to do that was to act like a sappy old married couple.” Courfeyrac hums, dodging when Enjolras tries to smack his blanket in his face. “But if you don’t mind, what’s the problem? Is it your parents?”
“I haven’t told them yet,” Enjolras hugs his knees to his chest. “It doesn’t bother me that people know. It just bothers me that they have the wrong idea.”
“Everybody thinks I’m!—” Enjolras makes swift gesture with his hands, as if he can’t find the words, or as if he can’t get the words out. “They think I’m pity dating him.”
“Oh,” Is all Courfeyrac can say. Because he doesn’t know what to say to that at all. “Oh god,” He says.
“It’s awful,” Enjolras says vehemently. Enjolras doesn’t care what other people think, but the moment somebody he cares about is brought in, well. “Fuck, do you know what’s worse?”
“No,” Courfeyrac says honestly. He wants to move over and hug Enjolras, because he looks like he needs it, but he’s still gesturing violently and Courfeyrac doesn’t want to get smacked in the face. Or set off some fire. If he’s not calm in five minutes, Courf will go in for the hug anyways. “What’s worse?”
“Grantaire just shrugged it off and said something like, ‘well just look at you, Enjolras’. What does that even mean?” He runs a hand through his hair, frustrated. “It’s terrible. If anybody is the lucky one in this relationship, it’s me. God.”
Courfeyrac stays silent, pretty sure Enjolras doesn’t need him to explain Grantaire’s penchant for low key self-deprecation. Instead he says, “They don’t know a goddamn thing, Enj.”
“Dude, fuck the haters.” Bahorel squeaks, crawling out of the grappling hook.
“Yeah, fuck ‘em.” Enjolras mumbles sullenly. “They think he’s some powerless charity case and they’ve got it so wrong. He’s talented and funny and he’s a stubborn asshole and—”
“Yeah, who in the world would have ever thought you two were together,” Courfeyrac from the pillows says. Jehan sighs dreamily.
“Maybe that’s it though?” Jehan says. “Everybody still thinks Grantaire doesn’t have a power, since he doesn’t like showing it off. Maybe if people knew, they’d leave you alone since you two would be equals, and stuff.”
“We were always equals,” Enjolras replies. “But—”
Bahorel’s head thunks against one of Courfeyrac’s shelves when he shifts back. “Ow.”
“I think I fixed it,” Bahorel tosses the grappling hook to Jehan. When Courfeyrac looks around, there’s only one of him around now that Bahorel doesn’t need help.
“No more rattling,” Jehan hums when he holds the grappling hook to his ear. “Hey, Enjolras, can you lend us some fire? If we weld the plate back, it’ll look less like we had to fix this thing eight times.”
“Sure,” Enjolras catches the grappling hook with ease. The fact that they throw around their project so often says a lot about how little they care about this class.
Enjolras presses the metal panel against the grappling hook, palm holding it in place, when he says. “Oh, wait. I can’t.”
“Sorry,” Enjolras hands Courfeyrac the grappling hook. “I forgot my power with Grantaire.”
“You forgot it?” Courfeyrac says in disbelief.
“Yeah,” Enjolras hands him the grappling hook.
“How can you just forget it?” Courfeyrac says, trying to wrap his head around it. Grantaire’s never taken his power, which Courfeyrac understands completely, but this has got to be a whole new level of...something.
“I just leave it with him sometimes. I’m used to it. I don’t really notice,” Enjolras shrugs. Jehan and Bahorel sigh dreamily, in unison now. “It’s not like he can lose it. It’s pretty safe.”
“You guys take the prize for being the most disgusting couple in our friend group, hands down.” Courfeyrac aims the grappling hook at his window again, and he pulls the trigger.
The grappling hook flies out of the gun, shattering his window.
“Okay, in hindsight, I shouldn’t have done that,” Courfeyrac says. “But you all should have expected it anyways.”
“Hey, if you’re Nightlight,” Musichetta says while she’s giving Joly a scalp massage. He gets headaches way too often. “And Bossuet is Nightvision, what would my superhero name be?”
“Oh my god,” Joly sits up, headache gone magically. “I can’t believe we’ve never had this conversation before.”
“What conversation?” Bossuet joins them at the table. He hands Musichetta a fruit cup and Joly a carton of apple juice.
“The superhero name conversation,” Joly says. “Thank you, juice god.”
“We better get names too,” Bahorel pipes in.
“We all need a name,” Musichetta says taking everybody at the table into account, Combeferre and Feuilly studying for a quiz, Jehan and Eponine talking hairstyles for prom. “I can’t believe we thought up of a group name first.”
“I still think my group name was the best,” Bossuet huffs.
“I stand by Enjolras and the Enjolrettes,” Combeferre looks up from his notes. Feuilly is falling asleep. Combeferre taps him on the nose with a pen.
“It’s too late to change the group name,” Joly says. “We’ll just have to give everybody really awesome individual superhero names.”
That’s when Grantaire slumps down onto the table out of nowhere looking absolutely miserable, which is odd. These days, Grantaire goes about his days with a dopey little smile on his face Musichetta makes sure to tease him for. These days, Grantaire’s bad days were almost non-existent.
“Do you ever regret?” Grantaire asks, face set in a way that says that this was indeed a bad day.
“I’m waiting for the end of that sentence with baited breath, R.” Musichetta says, hoping for a laugh or a smile.
“Nope, that’s it. That’s the sentence. It’s just—Ugh.” Grantaire groans. Joly and Bossuet look at Musichetta in worry. Grantaire lifts his head. “Please indulge me and tell me I shouldn’t care about what other people think of me.”
Musichetta leans over, taking Grantaire’s face into her hands. “You shouldn’t care about what other people think of you.” She says solemnly. “But who the fuck hurt you? Courf’s grappling hook shoots out way too strong. We could make it look like a testing accident.”
Grantaire’s lips quirk upward for a second. “Thanks, but no thanks.”
“I can give them rabies,” Bahorel suggests.
“You don’t have rabies,” Grantaire says. Then he pauses. “Wait, do you have rabies?”
“I could pretend to have rabies,” Bahorel tells him.
More suggestions come up from everybody, from Combeferre rigging exploding paper to Jehan offering to grow belladonna to Eponine suggesting that she tie their shoelaces together every day for a month. Grantaire, for one, seems stunned, as if he still hasn’t gotten it through his thick skull that his friend’s would do anything for him.
“You guys scare me sometimes. In the best way possible,” Grantaire says, easy grin on his face. But then it slips off when he says, “Alas, you can’t mess with the entire student body.”
That explains the bad day.
Over the course of the past week, Grantaire’s power became common knowledge. How, Musichetta doesn’t really know. Apparently Enjolras had thoughtlessly remarked that he forgot his power with R. All she knows is that people aren’t taking it well.
Grantaire’s power is the coolest thing to happen since sliced bread, but the rest of the school thinks otherwise. She’s heard whispers of Villain here and there. Power thief.
“What if that’s why Enjolras is dating him?” This girl in her class said. “What if he’s keeping his power hostage.”
“Hi,” Musichetta had turned, flashing her sweetest fake grin. Bossuet said it made her look like she knew how the world was going to end. “Who are you talking about?”
“Nothing!” The girl had squeaked.
Musichetta made sure to glare at everybody she heard, letting her eyes flash bright for some theatricality.
“Hey,” R had said once when they were walking together. Grantaire had accidentally bumped into somebody, and he turned, apologizing, only to have the kid flinch away from him violently. “I appreciate the glaring, but it won’t change anything.”
“If they’re gonna act so scared of you, they better add me on to the list,” She huffed, slinging a hand around Grantaire.
R’s reputation was never all that great to begin with, but ever since people learned about his power, it’s rolled all the way downhill.
“Fuck the haters,” Bahorel says seriously. Musichetta is pretty sure that’s his catchphrase for this month.
“Yeah, fuck them.” Joly nods. Everybody tries to hide their smile from Joly, even Grantaire. When Joly swears, it’s about as threatening as a kitten sneeze. But if anybody tells him that, he ignores them for days.
“You know what you need?” Musichetta ruffles Grantaire’s hair.
“Apple juice?” He says, staring longingly at Joly’s carton.
“Nuh uh, this is mine.” Joly sticks his tongue out.
“Here,” Eponine comes over and pours a handful of jellybeans out in front of Grantaire.
“Thanks,” Grantaire says as he starts sifting through the jellybeans. “But I only like the lemon ones.”
“Weirdo,” Eponine laughs, picking the rest up.
“Wait, Chetta. I never heard the punchline to your leading question.” Grantaire looks up from the jellybeans. “What do I need?”
She swipes a few jellybeans from his hand. “You need a superhero name.”
“Oh my god,” Bossuet says. “I can’t believe we still aren’t having this conversation. Joly, grab some paper. We need to record this.” Joly rips open his notebook, flipping to an empty page. “Okay, obvious ones first. Eponine.”
“Huh?” She says, jellybeans in her hands.
“Your name is Blind Eye,” Bossuet says. “You know, from that saying. ‘Turn a blind eye’.”
Eponine is quiet for a beat. Then, “That’s really fucking cool.”
“Blind Eye it is!” Joly scrawls it down. Grantaire seems to have procured a pencil from somewhere and is doodling what looks like a tiny Eponine next to her name.
“Me next,” Musichetta tells Bossuet. “I was the one who brought it up.”
Bossuet looks pensive. “Magic 8 Ball.”
“Lame,” Musichetta throws a jellybean at him, but he catches it in his mouth with a grin.
“Raven,” Joly suggests. “Like ‘That’s so Raven’.”
“But Raven already exists. Teen Titans,” She says.
“The Fortune Teller,” Combeferre suggests softly.
“Now that I like,” Musichetta smiles at Ferre. “Write it down.”
“I want to be known as,” Jehan stands up. Everybody is at the edge of their metaphorical seats. “Captain Plant.”
“You cannot be Captain Plant.” Grantaire says in unison with Bossuet.
Jehan pouts. “And why not?”
“Captain is way too overused,” Bossuet tells him.
“Captain Snowstorm is Enjolras’ dad,” Ferre adds.
“Yeah but,” Jehan crosses his arms. “Captain Plant is one letter away from Captain Planet.”
There’s a contemplative pause. It’s Grantaire who says, “Alright, I think we can all agree that under that reasoning, Captain Plant is acceptable.”
“Feuilly is easy,” Musichetta says, stirring Feuilly from the nap he managed to slip into when Combeferre wasn’t paying attention. “You’re Pikachu. You named yourself back in Power Placement.”
“Whuh,” Feuilly blinks. “What’s up?”
Joly gasps so loudly, Musichetta doesn’t need to look into the future to know he’s going to get hiccups soon. “Watt’s Up.”
“Write it down, babe.” She pats Joly on the head. Then he hiccups softly. Called it.
Cosette and Marius sit down at the end of the table. “What’s everybody talking about? Seems fun.” Cosette says.
“Superhero names,” Bahorel grins.
“You can be...Flight Girl!” Grantaire says, then he frowns when he realizes what just came out of his mouth. “Uh, nevermind. What about. Sky...Destroyer.”
Eponine lays a hand on Grantaire’s shoulder. She shakes her head.
“How about,” Marius says in between munching at his sandwich. “Aerosette.”
Aerosette makes Sky Destroyer sound like a masterpiece, but Cosette pecks Marius on the cheek anyways. She says, “Aerosette is perfect.”
“What about me?” Marius asks, beaming. The world is still pure if Marius can smile like that.
“The Neutralizer,” Combeferre suggests.
“That’s badass,” Bahorel says, giving Marius a solid pat on the back. “Ominous too.”
Grantaire squints at Combeferre. “Ferre can be The Tinker. Gadget Guy. Oh god, you know what, somebody stop me. I’m shit at this. Stop me before I get mythological. Daedalus.”
“Bob the Builder,” Bossuet says.
“Fix-It Ferre,” Joly says.
“Are we talking superhero names?” Courfeyrac says, Enjolras following him. “I like Fix-It Ferre.”
“I like it too,” Combeferre says. “You can be…”
“Copy Machine,” Courfeyrac snickers.
“Buy One Get Ten Free,” Bahorel tries.
“Kaleidoscope,” Combeferre says.
“Why are you so good at this?” Bossuet asks in awe. Joly dutifully writes it down.
In the corner of her eye, Enjolras slides next to Grantaire who immediately leans into him. Musichetta bets two whole jellybeans that they’re holding hands under the table.
“I call dibs on Enjolras,” Grantaire says lazily, head against Enjolras’ shoulder. “He’s Mr. Microwave.”
It’s obvious it’s an in joke between the two of them, what with how Grantaire smiles knowingly, with how Enjolras laughs, a small, quiet laugh.
“Yeah, okay. I’m Mr. Microwave.” Enjolras says. “What’re you?”
“The Borrower,” Joly says as dramatically as he can. It’s a difficult feat to achieve when he’s hiccuping.
“That makes me sound like I’m a serial library hooligan.”
“Library Card?” Musichetta suggests. Grantaire just snorts.
“I want to be called Fluffy,” Bahorel says. The whole table replies with the ambient noise of general approval.
Grantaire doesn’t look that put off with not having agreeing on a superhero name, but right now, he doesn’t look all the put off by anything. He’s popping lemon jellybeans into his mouth while Enjolras goes off about this lesson they had. The miserable Grantaire that was here just awhile ago, slumped against the table, is no more.
Musichetta didn’t have to look into the future to know that bad days can have nice endings.
Grantaire picks up on the second ring.
“Okay, so I just downloaded five seasons of Mythbusters.” Grantaire says. “Good idea or bad idea? You’re not allowed to think and you don’t get any context. Three seconds. Go.”
“Good idea,” Enjolras says, smiling. His bad mood is lifting already, just from hearing Grantaire’s voice. “I like Mythbusters. Just don’t tell Ferre. He’s not allowed to watch Mythbusters.”
“Shit, I can imagine,” He says. Enjolras toes his shoes off, kicking them away somewhere in his room. He’ll probably have the hardest time finding them tomorrow, but bridges and getting there and whatnot. “He should do a webshow. Mythbusters but a thousand times more extreme.”
“I’d suggest it to him if I wasn't worried about possible radiation.” Grantaire hums, understanding.
“Hey, I’m probably going to marathon a bunch of this tonight. Wanna come over?”
“I—” Enjolras sighs. He holds his hand over the receiver of his phone so that Grantaire doesn’t hear him thunk his head against his door a few times. “I’d love to come over. And I really, really want to. But not tonight. Save some episodes for me. I won’t be good company right now since tonight’s just been,” Enjolras tries to find a word, but he settles on one last satisfying thunk.
“Oh shit, I totally spoke over you. You were the one who called first. Sorry. Still getting used to talking on the phone with people who aren’t Joly. He once called me just to talk about Meerkat Manor.”
“What’s Meerkat Manor?”
“’What’s Meerka’—Well, now I know what we’re doing this weekend. Wait. Fuck,” Grantaire makes a frustrated noise on the other end. “I’m talking over you again. Let’s start over. Hi, Enjolras.”
“Hello, Grantaire.” He laughs, taking a seat by his desk.
“To what do I owe the pleasure of your honeyed words in my ear tonight? Like, before I bombarded you.”
“Nothing in particular,” Enjolras glances at the notes on his desk, knowing he won’t get any work done tonight anyways. “Just wanted to talk to you.”
“So that headbang I heard awhile ago was definitely something I imagined?” Enjolras sighs. “You wanna talk about it? You don’t have to, but I’m all ears.”
“It’s nothing, really.” He tells Grantaire. Enjolras grabs a pen, just to stop himself from fidgeting. “I just told my parents. That’s it.”
“Told them what?”
“Oh,” Grantaire says. It’s incredible how a single syllable can hold so much. Enjolras wants to run over to Grantaire, shitty night be damned. “So, uh. How’d that go?”
Terribly “I wasn’t supposed to tell them. It just slipped out.”
“So like, ‘lovely dinner tonight, parental units. By the way I’m not single anymore and we have to pay dowry’?” Grantaire snickers.
“You are literally the only person I know who’d think of that.”
“Well, go on.” Grantaire urges. “If it didn’t happen like that, do tell.”
“They were talking about prom since they might chaperone,” Enjolras groans, trying not to imagine it.
“If it’s any consolation, Valjean is chaperoning too.” He says, sounding just as mortified. “He and Javert go way back, or something.”
“That’s just makes it worse, Grantaire. Valjean hates me.” Enjolras had spent an excruciating ten minutes getting glared at by Valjean that one morning before Grantaire had rescued him.
“He adores you,” Grantaire assures him. “You made him waffles.”
“Well, anyways. They were talking about prom and then they asked if I was going with anybody. I didn’t tell them yes, but apparently it was obvious I was,” Enjolras starts twirling his pen. He doesn’t know how his ‘thinking about Grantaire’ face looks like, but his friends assure him it’s less than conspicuous. “They asked who the lucky girl was,” Grantaire snorts. “Right? So I told them ‘lucky boy’. Then they asked if it was Courf.”
“Holy shit,” Grantaire’s laughing on the other end. Enjolras feels guilty for how the rest of the story is less than humorous..
“Honestly. So I told them, ‘I’m taking my boyfriend. Grantaire.’ And.” Enjolras sets the pen down and clenches his fist. Fire wants desperately to crawl out of his skin. “They knew your name. They knew your parents.”
“Lemme guess. They were less than thrilled to know that their lovely son was dating a Villain waiting to happen.” Grantaire jokes lightly.
“That is not what you are,” Enjolras says sharply. Grantaire did hit the nail right on the head, though, since that was basically what his parents said anyways.
“Look at the not-terrible side,” Grantaire says. “At least they’re cool with you being gay.”
“Switching one prejudice out for another doesn’t make it any better!” Enjolras hisses. He registers the familiar smell of smoke he’s grown up with.
“I know,” Grantaire says soothingly while Enjolras pins his phone to his ear with his shoulder. He clenches his hands together. Of all days to actually remember to get his power back from Grantaire, he chooses today. He wishes he left it. Anything to not feel like this. Fireproof or not, it still burns. “It’s just, you know. Reasonable. It was a reasonable reaction. I’m pretty sure your folks fought mine, once or twice. And lost. Allow them some grudge and bias.”
“Whatever your parents did doesn’t matter. You’re not them,” Enjolras grumbles. It’s the same thing he told his parents just minutes prior, but they didn’t really listen. “You know, they think you’ll be a bad influence on me. You. Yesterday you almost cried when Ferre let you pet Frederick.”
“He was really fluffy, okay.” Grantaire says defensively. “And, I mean. I guess I’m a little bit of a bad influence. I convinced you into breaking and entering.”
“It was your house,” Enjolras rolls his eyes even though Grantaire can’t see it. “Which we were eventually let into.”
“You stole a fire extinguisher!”
“You told me your boss said you could keep it,” Enjolras looks at the said fire extinguisher fondly. It sits at the corner of his room. Grantaire had given it to him, but not before he scribbled all over it with a marker. ‘For the hottest guy I know xxx’.
“Just admit it,” Enjolras can hear the grin in Grantaire’s voice. “I turned you into a badboy.”
“Then it’s a good thing I don’t really care about what people think of me,” Enjolras opens his hands. The fire has calmed down.
Grantaire sighs on the other end. Through the phone, Enjolras can’t tell if it’s fond or something else. “Then why do you care so much about what other people think of me?”
“I don’t know. I just do,” Enjolras tells him. “Sorry.”
“Whatever the fuck for?”
“Well, my parents don’t like you.”
“Dude, you have no control over that.” Grantaire says. “There’s a long list of people who don’t like me, Enjolras. Two more isn’t the end of the world.”
“I wish the list didn’t exist,” Enjolras admits quietly. Is it too much to ask for everybody to see Grantaire for what he is? Incredible beyond words? He doesn’t understand why it’s so difficult for people to look past Grantaire’s history or his unfamiliar power to see the actual person underneath it all.
“I’ll have you know that you were on that list for a solid few minutes. Back when we met.”
“I was never on the list,” Enjolras huffs, standing up. Restless. “I never hated you. I was annoyed, yeah. But you can be annoying when you try.”
“Aw gosh,” Grantaire says. “You say the sweetest things.”
“I didn’t mean that. I—” Enjolras flops onto his bed, making a noise into his pillow. “This is going all wrong.”
Grantaire laughs. “Please don’t get stressed out on my own behalf over people I don’t give a shit about. I’m used to it.”
“You shouldn’t have to be.” Enjolras says. He might be used to it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t terrible. He’s seen how Grantaire’s face would fall when people flinched away from him.
“It’s whatever,” He says. “I can get through it. It’s what I’ve always been doing. It’s also a bit easier now that I have a bunch of intimidating friends.”
“It’s a lot easier now that I’ve got you,” Grantaire interrupts.
The warmth that bursts in his chest has nothing to do with fire or anger. Far from violent; it’s slow. Languid. It’s a quiet kind of warmth. The kind he gets from kissing Grantaire. Less of a blaze and more of an afternoon that filters through the window, dust lazily floating in the light.
“I—” Enjolras stops himself. He’s always considered his words as his real power, but this time, he stops himself. He knows it. He means it. But he won’t say it now. Not over the goddamn phone. “Nevermind.”
“Oh come on, don’t do that. Now I’m curious.”
“I’ll tell you some other time,” Enjolras says. “Promise.”
“Alright,” Grantaire says. A pause. “Do you have something to wear for prom yet?”
“Uh. I actually don’t know.”
“Fucking same. Anyways, Cosette’s dragging me shopping this weekend.” Grantaire tells him. “It’d be awesome if I wasn’t being dragged around alone. You can stay over afterwards. I’ll tell you all about Meerkat Manor.”
“Sure,” Enjolras smiles. “Maybe I’ll finally learn the difference between a corsage and a boutonniere.”
“The corsage is traditionally for girls, I think. The other one’s for guys.” Grantaire says. “And they go in different places too. I don’t really get it.”
“I want to wear a corsage,” Enjolras is always up for dismantling gendered traditions. “In my hair.”
“That’s going to look so awesome,” Grantaire tells him excitedly. “Can I too? We can match. Dates are supposed to match, right?”
The conversation leads off from there, easy and light, until Enjolras’ replies get shorter and fuzzier. Until Grantaire calls it a night. Until Enjolras can’t find it in himself to feel anything other than content and happy to the core.
“Goodnight,” Grantaire says.
Enjolras goes to sleep thinking about warm days and words he’s saving for later.
“Stop touching it. You’re messing it up,” Cosette huffs, floating up to fix Grantaire’s hair. It’s an oxymoron in itself, since Grantaire’s hair hates working with anybody. But she’s put in a lot of hard work for Grantaire’s usual tousled mess to look somewhat tamed.
“Why can’t my hair just be normal?” Grantaire says when Cosette is satisfied.
“Because it’s prom. You have to put effort,” She says, picking up a nice silver necklace, trying to hook it together behind her neck. “Or at least pretend that you put effort. Help?”
“Sure,” Cosette holds her hair up while Grantaire clasps the necklace. “There you go. Give us a twirl, Cosette.”
Cosette can’t resist. She grabs a handful of her dress and spins around until she’s dizzy and grinning. Disney never shows the dizzy part. Grantaire steadies her just before she trips on her heels.
“You look awesome,” Grantaire tells her.
“Not too shabby yourself, R.” Cosette adjusts his tie. “We should go downstairs. I’m sure Papa wants a billion pictures. Hold this,” She hands Grantaire a handful of her dress. “I don’t want to trip down the stairs.
“Of course, your highness.” He bows, smirk on his face.
Papa, of course, is waiting in the living room with a camera. He looks like he’s about to cry, when he sees the two of them.
“Look at you two,” He says. “Growing up so fast.”
“Next thing you know, we’ll be fighting giant robots on the news,” Grantaire says.
“It’s prom, Papa. Not graduation.” Cosette tells him.
“Let an old man have his moment,” Papa smiles, ushering them into the living room. “Come, come. Let’s get a few pictures of just you two before your boys get here.”
Papa manages to get one formal looking picture where she and Grantaire are just smiling and standing like respectable siblings, but that lasts for a few seconds. She’s pretty sure a lot of the pictures are just blurs or her chasing Grantaire around the living room until she finally does catch him, lifting him up into the air, a half hearted scowl on his face. Grantaire gets his payback when he takes her power, recreating the picture the other way around.
“You’ve gotta take one like that with Marius,” Grantaire puts her down and gives her power back, gravity feeling like it’s got less of a hold on her already.
“Gosh, I wish. I can’t fly when I’m touching him.” Cosette pats down her dress.
“Snap. Well, you can still carry him, though.”
A thought comes to Cosette. “Papa, we need one with you too!”
“Oh no, that’s alright.” He waves her off. “There’s nobody to take it.”
“I can,” Grantaire volunteers.
“No you won’t,” Cosette smacks him in the shoulder with her clutch bag. “We can just wait for Marius or Enjolras. They can take it.”
“Speak of the devil,” Papa says, going for the door. A car’s pulled up on their driveway. It’s not Marius’.
“It’s Enjolras,” Cosette says.
“Oh god,” And then Grantaire ducks behind the couch. “Who’s dropping him off?”
Cosette squints. “I think it’s his mom?”
Papa is the one who goes out to greet them. Cosette hasn’t asked, and it’s none of her business anyways, but she knows Enjolras’ parents don’t like Grantaire. Enjolras’ parents are pretty dumb.
“Is she gone yet?” Asks Grantaire’s voice from the couch.
“Not yet.” Cosette says. “I’ll just bring Enjolras here. Stay put.”
She goes off to the doorway. Papa’s already let Enjolras in, and Enjolras seems to be tripping over himself greeting him given with how he’s mumbling politely. When Papa smiles and gives Enjolras a pat on the back, Enjolras’s face is a mix of terror and pure accomplishment.
“Hi, Enjolras.” Cosette gives him a quick hug. “R’s hiding behind the couch.”
“Hi, Cosette.” Enjolras says while Cosette steals him from Papa, pulling him into the living room. She hears the car pull out of the driveway.
“The coast is clear,” Cosette yells into the living room. Almost immediately, Grantaire’s head pops up from behind the couch.
“Finall—” Grantaire says. Then he stops. He stops because he’s seen Enjolras.
Enjolras had tagged along with Grantaire and Cosette when they went shopping. But Cosette made damn sure that the wouldn’t see each other’s outfits.
“It’s bad luck,” She said, looking over the suit she asked Enjolras to fit, turning him around.
“That’s for weddings,” Grantaire said from where he sat at the corner, beanie dutifully pulled over his eyes.
“Semantics,” She told him. Cosette looked at Enjolras. “This one is nice. It brings out your eyes.”
Her hard work paid off. Now, they’re having their cliche moment where they both see each other and are suitably speechless. Grantaire has a slack smile on his face. Enjolras just looks awed. You’re welcome.
“Looking good, golden boy.” Grantaire says, bringing Enjolras out of his daze.
“You too. You look good. Really good. Uh,” Enjolras holds up a small paper bag. “I got the corsages.”
“Corsages are for girls,” She says.
“Let’s not gender the flowers, now.” Grantaire says as Enjolras joins him on the couch. “Now let’s figure out how to get this thing in your hair. Did you know that corsages were believed to ward off evil spirits?”
”I doubt we’ll get haunted at prom.”
“Well now that you’ve gone and jinxed it, we so absolutely will.”
Papa snaps a picture. They don’t even notice.
“Oh dear,” Papa says, looking down at the camera. “I forgot to charge this thing.”
“You can use mine,” Grantaire volunteers. “Wait here, Enjolras.”
Grantaire bounds up the stairs and Papa follows him. When they’re alone, Cosette takes her chance and sits next to Enjolras on the couch. He’s got a corsage twined behind his ear and another in his hands which he looks at fondly.
“Hi,” She says.
“Hi, Cosette.” When he looks up, he’s still got his tiny smile on.
“Told you he’d like the suit,” She smiles, but then she remembers her mission. Cosette takes a deep breath and gets serious. “Okay, I hope you don’t mind.You’re my friend and I love your guts, but this is mandatory.”
“The shovel talk,” Cosette tells him. “I’m gonna give you a shovel talk.”
“Oh, okay. Alright.” He nods, sitting up straighter, looking very sincere for somebody on the wrong end of a shovel talk. “I’m ready. I tried to do this with Ferre and Courf, but I gave it to them at the same time so it was basically just me telling them both to be good people.”
“I bet you didn’t even make a threat.”
“I told them I’d kidnap Frederick,” Enjolras says. “But it wasn’t all that effective since they know I hate Frederick and that I’ll just give him to Grantaire since Grantaire sees him as a really weird puppy.”
“That’s adorable,” She says. Then her eyebrows knit. The mission. Cosette. “Ugh, wait. I’m supposed to be instilling fear into you if you hurt Grantaire. But honestly, who am I kidding. I can’t threaten you. You’re a marshmallow.”
“I am not,” Enjolras frowns. “Grantaire says I’m a badboy.”
“Oh my god,” Cosette laughs, loud and boisterous. “I’m terrible at this.”
“No, no. Keep going,” Enjolras grins.
“Okay, okay. It’s just. Grantaire is my brother.” Cosette looks him in the eye, not bothering to look serious anymore. “I don’t care if it’s just been a few years or whatever, he’s my brother and I’d kill for him.” Enjolras nods. Cosette continues. “He doesn’t need anybody protecting him because he can do that himself and he hates asking for help. But it’s hard sometimes, with the whole school against him.”
Cosette tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, “It’s better now that he’s got a lot of people on his side. That includes you. And that’s what Grantaire needs. People. I won’t tell you not to hurt him, first, because I doubt you ever would, and second because it might happen anyways. That’s how stuff goes sometimes, and you’re not like, less because of it. But you guys are good. If this lasts or if it doesn’t, just remember that you guys are good and you can keep on being good for as long as you want.”
Enjolras’ gaze falters, falling to the corsage in his hands. Quietly, he says, “I love him.”
“You tell him that?”
“We’re in high school.”
“Fair enough,” Cosette concedes. “But if you mean it, there’s nothing stopping you. Think about that.” The doorbell rings out. Cosette stands, patting Enjolras on the head.
When she opens the door, she gets her own little cliche moment. Marius stands, stiff and unbelievably handsome, gaping a little at Cosette herself.
“You,” Marius says, gaze gentle. Nearly reverent. “You look incredible.”
“Thank you,” She feels herself blush. “You look very dashing.”
Cosette can’t help it. She pulls Marius into the house by his lapels and gives him a kiss that lasts for a handful of perfect seconds.
There’s a polite cough from behind her, so she pulls back. Marius is smiling, his hand on her face.
Another polite cough.
“Coming, Papa!” She kisses Marius’ hand briefly. “Come on. He wants pictures before we leave.”
“Of course,” Marius says, trailing after her.
In the living room, Grantaire is back with a corsage in his ear. It seems Papa has already taken a few more pictures of them.
“Is that how the flowers are supposed to look like?” Marius asks.
“No, they’re just,” Cosette stops, unable to find a word to describe Enjolras and Grantaire. “Them. Mine goes on the wrist and yours goes here,” She pins Marius’ boutonniere to his lapel.
“Alright, last group pictures then you can leave. I promise,” Papa says.
Cosette manages to lift Marius bridal style for one. Not wanting to be outwitted, Grantaire tries to carry Enjolras, who squawks in surprise and elbows him in the gut. That one must be an interesting picture.
“Alright, I’m done,” Papa smiles wistfully.
“Oh no you aren’t, old man,” Grantaire says. “We haven’t gotten one with you yet.”
“Give the camera to Marius,” Cosette tells him, remembering Grantaire’s brief foray into teaching Enjolras how to take non blurry pictures.
Papa gives Marius the camera, along with a firm pat on the shoulder which leaves Marius looking like he’s going to faint. Grantaire shoos Enjolras away to where Marius is standing. Laughing, Papa picks Cosette and Grantaire up with ease, one on each arm, and smiles brightly.
The picture, when they check it later, is still blurry. It’s a good one all the same.
“Okay, confession time,” Grantaire says when finally, a slow song comes on. “I spent ten minutes on the wikiHow for slow dancing.”
“So you’re an expert now?” Enjolras asks, watching Grantaire as he stands.
“God no. But I think I’ve got the basics down.” Grantaire offers Enjolras his hand. WikiHow better not fail him now. “Shall we?”
Enjolras rolls his eyes at the gesture, smiling all the same, and takes his hand. Grantaire won’t even pretend that his heart didn’t jump in response.
Prom is, in three words, absolutely fucking ridiculous. They’ve decorated the school gym into something that scarcely resembles the same gym, but with more streamers, lights, and a meager table of refreshments on the side. All in all, there isn’t actually much to do at prom except dance, which gets tiring if you do it non-stop. Grantaire’s taken to sitting down at the side, heckling the rest of the student body as they try to dance, but Enjolras requested lame dancing. And there’s no dance lamer than a slow dance.
“Full disclosure, I don’t actually know how to dance.” Enjolras says, as if sitting next to Grantaire the entire night wasn’t hint enough.
“Well, then this might be awful. But we’ll ride it out to the end,” Grantaire gets their limbs in order. “Since heteronormativity can’t help us now, it’s just more logical if you lead since you’re, you know, taller.”
“Oh, so” Enjolras obediently settles his arms where Grantaire leads them, around his waist, while Grantaire drapes his arms around Enjolras’ neck. “This is basically like the fridge thing. But with music.”
“A bit more PG than the fridge thing, but yeah.” Grantaire tries to sway them along to the beat of the music, since Enjolras is basically just standing there. It’s not really helping. “I’m pretty sure we can’t make out like the fridge thing, since your mom’ll kill me and Valjean will swat my dead body with a roll of newspaper.”
“That’s not gonna happen,” Enjolras breathes out a soft laugh, finally noticing how Grantaire’s been trying to move them. “Sorry. I’m supposed to be moving.”
“Yeah, you are,” Grantaire hides his smile in Enjolras’ shoulder.
Miraculously, they start swaying slightly to the slow beat of this cheesy song the DJ probably pulled off of an online list. It’s nice, Grantaire figures. Nothing really special, though. Maybe it’s because Grantaire is close to Enjolras on a pretty regular basis. Slow dancing, it seems, is just this standing up hug and shuffle. It looks a lot cooler in movies, what with the swelling orchestra and three sixty camera spin. Without all that, it’s just this.
Grantaire’s nose began to itch.
“Am I doing right?” Enjolras asks, feet shuffling.
“I mean,” Enjolras’ shuffling seems to miss every single beat in the song, which is actually pretty incredible now that Grantaire thinks about it. “It’s alright.”
“So I’m doing it wrong?”
“I don’t think it’s possible to do it wrong. You’re just doing it weird.” Grantaire scrunches his nose. He doesn’t want to let go of Enjolras just to scratch his dumb nose. “Going by my minimal research, slow dancing is barely even dancing. It’s more about, well, being together.”
“Okay,” Enjolras says. “But we’re basically like that all the time.”
“Yeah. S’cuz we’re awesome,” Grantaire weighs the pros and cons of rubbing his nose against Enjolras’ shoulder. Pros, his nose would stop itching. Cons, it’d probably destroy the romantic moment they’re having. Or, er, trying to have. “Other couples are not as lucky. Can you see them? It’s really awkward.”
“We’re pretty awkward too,” Enjolras hums.
“Oh my god,” Grantaire slumps a bit in Enjolras’ hold. “So you agree this isn’t really magical or romantic? Please say you agree. I’ve been trying to convince myself we were having a moment for the past seven offbeat shuffles.”
“It’s not romantic,” Enjolras laughs in his ear. “No offense. This isn’t bad, or anything. Just. Well. Not what I thought. It’s.”
“I don’t get why people look forward to this stuff.”
“Maybe it’s the ambiance?”
Grantaire looks around the gym, at the half-assed banners and lights. “Enjolras, we’re in the school gym. I remember that corner over there because I was thrown into it back when we saved the citizen. We’re surrounded by idiots who hate me. Your mom is somewhere in the room. Ambiance is dead and we killed it.”
Enjolras nods vigorously, and now that Grantaire is sure there isn’t a moment to ruin, he laughs against his neck. A couple near them gives them the stinkeye. Grantaire isn’t sure if it’s because he and Enjolras are being noisy or if they’re just jealous they aren’t this cool. Or maybe it’s just because of Grantaire. These days, everybody’s giving them the stinkeye just because of Grantaire.
“The punch tastes weird,” Enjolras says.
“Right? It tastes aggressive. It’s like the final fruit punch boss.”
“I don’t actually know if I’m moving to the beat.”
“You aren’t. It’s actually really impressive. But since you’re leading, I’m just going with your ill-timed flow.” Grantaire tells him. Since they’re on the topic of enumerating why everything is so godawful, he says “My nose really itches.”
“What’s stopping you from scratching it?”
“I don’t wanna let go of you,” Grantaire shrugs, looking at Enjolras’ amused smile. “Hey, you were the one who wanted lame dancing. I’m seeing this through ‘til the end.”
Enjolras blows on his nose.
“You evil motherfucker.” Grantaire mashes his face against Enjolras’ shoulder while the fucker in question laughs his ass off. “You are the worst slow dance partner ever.”
“I’m up against some pretty stiff competition,” Grantaire looks up just to scowl at Enjolras’ perfect little face, still snickering. “Seeing as how I’m the only one.”
“Yeah, yeah, laugh it up.” Grantaire says.
The music abruptly changes then. The song doesn’t even end or fade away. It just flat out stops as the DJ starts up some EDM. Around them, students try to adjust to the sudden change, awkwardly starting to bounce to the faster beat.
Enjolras doesn’t let him go.
“Guess that ends the slow dance portion,” Grantaire tells him, not letting go either. He’s a hypocrite. Whatever.
“Yeah, but—” Enjolras shrugs instead of finishing his sentence, moving them away from the throng of teenagers anticipating the bass drop.
“You wanna slow dance to this?” Grantaire asks. The DJ drops the bass, and it’s the weakest, most pathetic thing he’s ever heard.
“Hey, lovebirds!” Jehan calls. He’s dressed up like something very Willy Wonka-esque, which he pulls off pretty well. “Slow dance time is over.”
He and Enjolras look over to where their friends are. Courfeyrac is trying to jive to the terrible rhythm next to Ferre. Feuilly and Bahorel look like they’re having a tap dance battle. Eponine is lounging by the bleachers, munching on jellybeans while making loud comments against the DJ. Marius is krumping. Probably. It’s hard to describe what Marius is doing.
“Wanna dance?” Grantaire asks. He’d give his left leg to see Enjolras try to actually move his body. “Like, really dance?”
“I don’t know how to.”
“That’s not stopping the rest of them,” Grantaire laughs.
Enjolras is looking at him, fond and content. It’s the sprinkler look. Grantaire now knows what the sprinkler look means, but he still has trouble believing that Enjolras would really like him that much.
“Sure,” Enjolras says. “Just, give me a second.”
Then he leans in for a kiss.
Grantaire lets his eyes shut. He lets his fingers trail along the back of Enjolras’ head. It’s chaste. Grantaire is pretty sure that if they tried to do anything more than this press of lips, Enjolras’ mom would show him how the sun’s core felt like. But it’s good. Now that Grantaire’s got way more control, he doesn’t take Enjolras’ power by accident. Instead, he takes it deliberately. If he can’t deepen the kiss, he can very well enjoy how Enjolras’ fire slinks into him, a familiar type of warmth, well-worn.
It’s not a magical, mind-blowing kiss. Grantaire’s nose still itches. His arm is sort of aching from being in this position for so long. In the background, he hears Eponine yell “Learn how to drop a goddamn beat!”
But when he pulls away, he gets a glimpse of Enjolras, eyes fluttering open, corsage still behind his ear. His face is framed by the garish lights, a little quirk to his lips. Magical can go fuck itself. Romance can too. Perfect can join in as well since three’s a crowd.
Fuck perfect. Grantaire’s got something better.
“Just,” Enjolras says. “Can we—for a little longer?”
“Okay,” Grantaire gives Enjolras his power back. He used to feel colder after giving it back the first few times. But he’s grown out of it. There’s a part of him, the part that seems to overpower his insecurities, that says that Enjolras isn’t going anywhere. “Sure.”
In their little corner, Grantaire sees Joly start to breakdance while Bossuet and Musichetta cheer him on. Cosette’s joined Marius in his odd, jerking movements. The rest of them try to move to yet another weak bass drop.
He tucks himself into Enjolras’ neck, half to hide his smile and half to scratch his nose again. Grantaire thinks he catches a few more people glaring at them and the obvious fun they’re having, but he couldn’t give less of a damn.
If it’s them against the world, Grantaire thinks his chances are pretty good.
this was supposed to be wayyyyy shorter but i have 0 self restraint. shoutout to the shitty DJ at my prom last yr for your cameo appearance. ur weak ass bass drop still haunts me and will be immortalized in this fic til the internet dies.
im actualbird on tumblr. im always up for discussions of silly aus. i hope you had fun.