The guns were raised, and Grantaire knew he would be dead in moments but Enjolras was smiling at him, and the grip on his hand was firm and reassuring. Grantaire clung to that as he felt a sudden heat penetrate his chest.
He couldn't help screaming as he bolted upright, eyes wide as he gasped for breath. The sharp pain and white hot heat that had peppered his torso was now a dull ache, but he could feel the exact points where the bullets had pierced his skin. His muscles ached, and there was a bitter bite running down his back.
He jumped as a warm hand touched his chest.
He let out a full body jerk as he stumbled out of a strange bed, fighting against sheets and blankets that felt uncommonly soft. He was bare chested, in pants that were too comfortable and most definitely weren't his. He didn't recognize anything in the room, could barely comprehend what some of the things around him were, but the unknown was better than testing his self control against an equally shirtless Enjolras on the other side of the bed.
"Where are we?" he demanded, his tongue stumbling over the words. "Did we escape the barricades?"
"Barricades? Grantaire, what are you talking about?" Enjolras asked, and his accent was different, more relaxed, a different emphasis on syllables. The words sounded weird to Grantaire's ear. He looked different as well, Grantaire realized as he looked closer. A little older then he had been a moment ago, his hair a little longer. Grantaire watched as he eased out of bed, an exasperated smile on his lips.
"You do realize this is the one day this month we get to sleep in, right? Whatever it was, it was just a dream. Come back to bed."
Grantaire was speechless, unable to think much past the smooth, pale expanse of Enjolras' chest. However when strong hands touched his shoulders and face intimately, when warm breath mingled in with his, and when bright, if sleepy blue eyes appeared so close in his vision, he panicked and stumbled back.
"How did I get here?" Grantaire demanded, putting as much space between them as the strange room would allow. Enjolras looked startled and a little hurt at his distance.
"You live here," he said slowly. "Grantaire, what's going on?"
"We were on the barricades!" Grantaire exclaimed, twitching nervously. He realized with a cold shock that he was completely sober. It was a very disconcerting feeling. "I found you upstairs and they had guns on us, they were going to shoot you-,"
"Grantaire," Enjolras whispered, coming slowly closer again. "I'm fine. I'm right here, with you. We're home. It was just a dream."
"No, it wasn't!" Grantaire roared, and Enjolras took an abrupt step back. Shame instantly filled Grantaire, and he took a deep breath, trying to calm himself.
"My apologies. I did not mean to startle you." Enjolras looked at him oddly as he picked up a shirt from the floor, shoving it over his messy curls and down his torso. Part of Grantaire complained bitterly. Enjolras threw another shirt at him.
"Come on, I'll make breakfast. Maybe some coffee will help wake you up."
"I'd rather a drink," Grantaire said bluntly. Enjolras froze, and Grantaire was stunned to see fury leech into his beautiful blue eyes.
"You don't mean that."
"I surely do."
Enjolras stared at him for a few heartbeats, before grabbing a small, slim, black box from the stand by the door and walking out, slamming the door behind him and leaving Grantaire alone in the strange room. He was reluctant to follow Enjolras, so instead he looked around the room in morbid curiosity. Some of the more obvious things he recognized, though the style was unknown to him. A dresser in a dark wood and square design, the large bed with perfectly sown sheets, the full length mirror in the corner. But the trinkets along the dresser and nightstands were odd little things that he was fearful to touch: a multi-colored cube, dishes with jewelry and coins he didn't recognize, two odd metal rectangles with cords connected to them. But what really captured Grantaire's attention were the portraits. Each incased in a different style frame, it was as if someone had captured a moment in time and had managed to press it into paper.
The one closest to him showed himself leaning against the wall, looking straight on over a pair of dark tinted glasses, smoke curling out of his mouth around the thin white stick dangling from his lips. He looked distinctly amused at something beyond the frame, and had an ease to him that Grantaire was envious of.
Another one he found showed Enjolras on what looked to be a beach, his pants rolled up and ankle deep in the clear waves. His blond ringlets were caught in the motion of being blown in every direction, and his blue eyes were alight with happiness.
Yet a third showed the two of them together, Grantaire standing behind Enjolras with his arms comfortably curled around his shoulders and his nose buried in the golden mass of curls. Enjolras had his hands tucked around Grantaire's forearm and they both seemed lost in a moment that was all their own.
"Grantaire," someone called from beyond the door, startling him out of his revere. It was a firm, familiar voice that had him opening the door before he truly thought about it. A hand shot out, ripping the door open as Courfeyrac suddenly filled up the threshold.
"What the fuck are you doing?" he demanded, pushing himself into the room as Grantaire backpedaled. "Enjolras is outside freaking out right now, what the hell is this about you drinking again?" The accusation in his tone was undeniable.
"You have no right to scold me, Courfeyrac!" Grantaire yelled back, at wit's end. "I saw your body draped over that absurd barricade as those monsters trampled over you like you where nothing and they destroyed the Cafè and they killed Enjolras-,"
He was cut off when Courfeyrac abruptly engulfed him in a tight embrace, and he soon found himself hyperventilating into the other's shoulder.
"Grantaire," Courfeyrac said softly. "We're not in France anymore. The revolution is long over."
The memory hit him like a two by four in the face.
Grantaire hadn't meant to get in a bar fight tonight. Well, he hadn't meant to get drunk either, but that had flown out the window after his second shot, so really he shouldn't have been surprised.
He managed to duck under the first fist flying towards him but the second caught him in the side, near the kidneys. He went down hard but managed to drag his opponent down with him, and they spent a good five minutes rolling around in the filth of the alley behind the bar.
Finally too tired to do anything but lay back and try to catch his breath, Grantaire eyed the brawny figure splayed out next to him.
The figure laughed too loudly, curling in on himself as he cackled.
"Good, indeed." He stuck out a hand.
He paused for a moment. Why the hell not, he thought as he reached over and shook it. "Grantaire."
"The hell kind of a name is that?" Courfeyrac asked before laughing to the sky.
Grantaire starred at Courfeyrac, completely stunned. Courfeyrac gestured him into the living room, and he didn't even bother trying to sort out all the new strange things he saw before he started hunting around the room.
"What are you looking for?"
"Wine, preferably. Brandy will do, though."
Courfeyrac's large, dry hands folded over his own frenzied ones, stilling their movements.
"You won't find any. You've been sober for three years."
Grantaire turned large, slightly terrified eyes toward him.
"You're not serious."
Courfeyrac, to Grantaire's complete surprise since he'd always known him as a completely shameless individual, turned red as his eyes strove to memorize the wall behind Grantaire's head.
"You don't want me to tell you that story. It'll all start coming back in a bit. Just sit down, take a deep breath, and talk to me, okay?"
Feeling vulnerable, shaken, and weak, Grantaire allowed himself to be led back to the overstuffed sofa and sat down. Courfeyrac disappeared for a moment, and came back with a glass of water and one of the chairs from the kitchen, which he placed in front of Grantaire so they could still sit eye to eye.
"Can you tell me what you remember?" He asked quietly.
"The barricades," Grantaire replied instantly, the memory of death still fresh in his mind. "Waking up hungover in a storage room. I stumbled out and you-," he paused as bile rose in his throat. He could feel sweat beginning to gather around his hairline and torso, and it was hard to breath. "You were all dead. Shot by those monsters. But I heard noise upstairs, and I followed it. They had Enjolras pinned down on the second floor, and he was holding that ridiculous red flag. They were about to shoot him."
Courfeyrac nudged the water in Grantaire's hands, urging him to take a sip and collect himself. He throw back the whole glass in one go, hoping to trick his mind into believing it was the wine he so desperately craved right now. It sadly did not stop the horrors from flashing through his mind, but it did settle his stomach a bit. Courfeyrac took the empty glass back and set it at their feet, his other hand coming up to wrap comfortably around Grantaire's shaking ones again.
"All I knew was that I had to be with him," Grantaire continued quietly. "If they were going to kill someone like him, there wasn't a god on earth strong enough to save someone like me."
"You died together?"
"He let me die beside him." Grantaire didn't talk about the smile his Apollo had gifted him in their final moments. That was his alone.
Silence passed between them as those words settled in the air, and Courfeyrac rubbed Grantaire's cold, trembling hands between his own.
"It's 2013," Courfeyrac explained quietly. "We're in Boston now, but we're from all over. We work for a non-profit environmental protection and preservation charity called Friends of the Earth, but most of us call it Les Amis. I've known you for nine years. You and Enjolras have been dating for nearly four, and you've been sober for three."
Grantaire shook his head, but every fact from Courfeyrac's lips set bells ringing through his memory.
"It will come back," Courfeyrac told him firmly. "Just breath, calm down, and think about your life."
At first, all he could remember was the smell of gun powder and blood in the air, combined with the taste of stale red wine on his tongue. But then his lessons from the university began to permeate. Days sleeping through lectures and nights littered with wine and women. Next came his paintings and the dull urge of his fingers to pick up charcoal and oils.
But slowly, other memories began mixing with them. He remembered the red bicycle his parents had gotten him for Christmas when he was nine, and when it had been destroyed two years later. He had to abandon it in the middle of the street or be hit by an out of control truck skidding down the road. The time he had skipped school for a week his sophomore year because his parents had been away and he had found the key to their liquor cabinet. Freshman year of college, thinking that the blond standing on the tables in the Union and shouting slogans against big pharmaceutical was pretty hot. The hurt, broken fury on Enjolras face as Grantaire stumbled home drunk again.
Grantaire groaned and sat back into the sofa, fiercely hoping the cushions would swallow him alive.
"Still think you need a drink?" Courfeyrac asked.
"Fuck yes," Grantaire muttered, but he knew he wouldn't. Even now with his memories tangled and fuzzy around the edge of his mind, one thought was becoming louder and louder. I will not drink today.
Grantaire broke one of his hands away from Courfeyrac's strong grip to scrub hard at his face.
"I need to call my sponsor," he admitted, his voice soft. Courfeyrac squeezed his other hand in reassurance as a smile came over his face.
"I'll get your cell. Is it in the bedroom?"
Enjolras was still outside, Grantaire suddenly remembered, thoughts turning frantic. He couldn't face him right now, not with his mind the divide it was, but he couldn't just leave him in the hallway. The simmering anger on his face when Grantaire had demanded a drink was haunting him already. He had sworn never to put his Apollo through that again.
Enjolras was across the diner table, looking at him with a blank expression, as if a shutter had been closed over his face. But Grantaire knew how to peek between the blinds and he saw a mix of apprehension, love, disbelief, and desperate hope. It was faint, but it was so much better then the terrible deadness Enjolras had shown him the day he had walked out. Grantaire set his Day One chip down between them.
"I have no right to ask," he said, his heart in his throat. "But I am anyway, because I'm selfish and I don't want to lose you. You're the best thing that's ever happened to me, Apollo. And if there's a chance you'll still be mine I won't give it up."
Enjolras stared at the chip, but didn't pick it up.
"Are you doing this for me?"
"I'd be lying if I said you weren't a factor."
Enjolras' eyes flashed. "I won't be your savior. Don't expect me to be."
"I can save myself," Grantaire shot back defensively. Though in his own mind he could still hear how new and terrifying that idea was.
"Knowing you're at the end of tunnel helps," he whispered after a moment. Something flashed so quickly over Enjolras' face he missed it, but hope sparked treacherously in his chest.
Finally, Enjolras turned the full force his gaze on him, burning with a kind of deep conviction that Grantaire had only ever dreamed of possessing.
"One drink," he said firmly. "One drink and I will walk out the door and you will never see me again. Understand?"
Grantaire was near breathless with relief. He nodded as he laid his hand down palm up on the table. The knife that had been perpetually buried in his gut for the last month twisted sharply as he watched the debate fly across Enjolras' handsome features. But after what felt like eternity, the blond settled his own inside Grantaire's hand, fingertips lightly resting on his palm. It was the barest of contacts, but it was enough.
"Never again," he whispered brokenly. "I swear."
"You don't need to swear. Just do it."
Silence settled over them, but Grantaire was too focused on maintaining the delicate contact between them to mind. Eventually, Enjolras shifted a bit.
"I'm sorry," he muttered, eyes on the table. "For what I said. It was cruel."
Grantaire's lips quirked. "The mighty Apollo stoops to apologize? The heavens must be falling."
Enjolras' eyes flashed again, annoyance etched into his features. Grantaire grinned back and twitched his fingers against the other's palm. He may still be building himself back up, but he wouldn't be himself if he didn't poke fun at his righteous god.
Grantaire breathed slow to fight the new wave of panic that rose in him. All he wanted was to rush out and reassure him, but even the thought of moving sent a spike of pain through his mind which already felt like it was splitting in two. The Grantaire of old was remembering the taste of a good, dry red as well as the hazy fog that came with it and demanding it with a passion, while his more current mind screamed just as passionately for his Apollo.
Suddenly, his cell was being pressed into his hands.
"Call your sponsor," Courfeyrac ordered.
"Is out in the hallway, along with Combeferre, Jehan, Joly, Bahorel, and Musichetta. They've got him."
Grantaire shot Courfeyrac a grateful look and flipped through his contacts until he found Valjean's number and shot off a quick request to meet at the diner down the block.
"Who else remembers?" Grantaire asked as he locked his phone screen again.
"Combeferre, Jehan, Joly, Bahorel, Musichetta, and Cosette."
In other words, everyone outside his door right now.
"Wait, Cosette was there?" Grantaire tried to rack his brain to come up with where he had seen Marius' adorable girlfriend in the chaos of the rebellion.
"Yeah, Marius was moping over her a lifetime ago too. It's our own personal soap opera," Courfeyrac replied, grinning. "Not only is one of your friends dating your sponsor's step-daughter, which for the record is weird as fuck already, but our past lives were 19th century French revolutionaries. Where, I might add, Marius still abandoned us in pursuit of sex."
"Jesus," Grantaire breathed. He collapsed back on the sofa, grabbed on of the worn pillows scattered across it, and pressed it into his face in hopes that the stiff fabric would absorb the spill of memories into his brain. His head felt like a pike had been driven through it.
Courfeyrac hummed in agreement as his phone buzzed. Valjean would meet him there in an hour, which gave him a good forty-five minutes to put himself back together. He definitely needed a shower, and he was surprisingly stiff. What had he been doing yesterday?
Enjolras shoved him up against their bedroom wall, eyes wicked as he quickly fumbled with the button of Grantaire's jeans. He grinned back and ducked down to attack the blond's kiss swollen mouth as he slid his own hands between the battered red jacket and the purple and black striped v-neck shirt Enjolras wore. Getting their clothes off proved difficult when they were in no hurry to let each other go, but eventually Enjolras' jacket hit the floor, and was quickly joined by most of Grantaire's clothing. His jeans were shoved down to his hips, but Enjolras abandoned stripping them off in favor of deepening the kiss between them. Hands tangled in hair, teeth nipped at skin, and breath became harsh as they both battling for dominance.
Grantaire backed them both up until Enjolras hit the bed, and a quick shove had him bouncing back among the covers, blond curls splaying across dark sheets in vivid contrast. Grantaire growled at the sight of his lover spread out before him and slinked up the lithe body, capturing Enjolras' lips in another demanding kiss. Somehow, Enjolras got his jeans down past his ankles and onto the floor, and Grantaire reveled in pressing his naked body against Enjolras' mostly clothed one.
God, it had been such a long time since they had a moment to themselves to breath, let alone remind each other of their bodies.
They had spent most of the past month knee deep in the Harbor, doing clean up for an oil spill from a leaking rig. It had been disgusting, tiring work but Enjolras had been so gorgeously alive when they had finally stumbled back to shore. It was impossible to resist his magnetic draw as he stood before the cameras, the black shine of the oil catching the light and turning him into a beacon for others to turn their lost souls toward. It had taken them hours to get home, what with all the media there and the mass amount of volunteers that had appeared to lend a hand who needed strict supervision from the Les Amis members.
Now Grantaire took the opportunity to vent all his pent up desire upon his Apollo, worshipping every inch of skin as it revealed itself.
"God, your so beautiful," he whispered as he stripped Enroljas' shirt off. He hissed, either at the comment or the cold, fingernails digging into Grantaire's back. "How are you mine again?"
"My parents always told me I had horrible taste," Enjolras replied as he shoved Grantaire far enough back to shuck his own jeans and underwear. Once the fabric hit the floor, he dragged Grantaire back between his thighs.
Grantaire rubbed against him, causing Enjolras to arch up against him with a breathless moan. Grabbing the lube and a condom from the bedside table took some doing when they refused to detangle themselves from each other, but Grantaire managed it. Usually they would take more time with each other, enjoy the foreplay and the anticipation. However, all Grantaire could think about right now was the open, dazed look on Enjolras' face when he eased into him, and the way the blond would lose the ability to form coherent sentences at each of Grantaire's thrust.
"God, Grantaire, now-," Enjolras demanded as he made quick work of the condom. Grantaire desperately clung to his self control long enough to give him a rapid fire prep before slicking himself and pressing close.
As always, Enjolras' breath hitched as Grantaire entered him. Fingernails racked down his back, and he couldn't suppress the wave of desire at the idea of Enjolras' marks on him.
"Shhh," he whispered as he felt the other tense up. "You're so good, so fucking good. Just relax."
Enjolras tossed his head back and whined, but dutifully relaxed as he eased in until he was fully buried inside the blond. God, it had been so long, and Enjolras body showed it.
Neither of them were going to last long, so once Enjolras started shifting below him impatiently, Grantaire slid his boyfriend's knees further up on his shoulders and began a demanding pace. Enjolras gasped and cried and dragged his mouth down for sloppy, filthy kisses every time he managed to hit the sweet spot of his lover's body.
Pressing close, he came with a shout, shudders running down his body. Beneath him, Enjolras whined and thrust, still painfully hard between them.
"Shh," Grantaire muttered as he eased out and began kissing his way down the other's heaving chest. He bit at dusty golden nipples, sucked at a quivering belly button, kissed the tip of an aching erection, and swallowed his Apollo down to the root. Enjolras let out a breathless cry. clenched uselessly at Grantaire's hair, and within moments warmth filled his mouth.
Swallowing, he came back up long enough to tie off the condom and toss it toward the trashcan in the corner, though he couldn't care less if it had made it. Not when there was a beautiful, panting, affectionate god under him.
Grantaire shook his head, his memories of last night covered in a deep haze of pleasure.
"Remember something else?"
"Nothing that concerns you." The marks on his back burned.
"Are you sure?" Courfeyrac's grin turned filthy. "I'd be more then happy to hear about all the exploits you and Enjolras get up to. My fantasies just never live up to the real thing."
"Fuck off," Grantaire groaned. Courfeyrac laughed and clasped him on the shoulder before rising to his feet.
"Where do you keep your aspirin?"
"Shelf next to the stove."
Thumps in the kitchen told Grantaire he had found the pills along with another glass of water, and he instantly downed the three Courfeyrac shoved under his pillow, along with most of the water.
"Your coffee sucks."
"Who said anything about me making it?"
Grantaire whined under the pillow but Courfeyrac's prodding eventually got him to his feet and into the kitchen. Once he got there, muscle memory from early mornings with little sleep took over, and the coffee maker was percolating within moments.
Courfeyrac shifted in his peripheral vision.
"I think it's time to talk to Enjolras."
Courfeyrac: Rally went 2 shit. Get to HQ ASAP
They had argued the previous evening about that damn rally, Grantaire couldn't help but think as he took a turn too sharply. Goddamnit, it was too soon after the last one and the police were angry, what with all the leaked information Bahorel and Feuilly had managed to post all over the internet and the shit they had managed to make their governor eat over the pollution that had been released into the air by his latest corporate deal. Combined with the video of Enjolras getting into a screaming match over the difference between moral and ethical behavior with a rookie cop going viral, and local law enforcement had been itching for their heads.
"It's too fucking soon!" He had screamed that night across the living room. "They'll rip you apart in a heartbeat!"
"Then they'll be exposed!" Enjolras yelled back. "We're a passive protest! If they turn tear gas and batons on us they look like facist pigs!"
"And you get hit with tear gas and batons! You seem to be overlooking that part!"
He had slept on the couch last night, and had childishly ignored Enjolras bumping around the kitchen the next morning. It had been petty, but he was like that sometimes. Enjolras had pressed a kiss into his dark waves to annoy him and had left without a word.
Six hours later, he had gotten a text from Courfeyrac and had rushed out of the house in his pajamas, a ratty band shirt, the first beanie and jacket he got his hands on, and two different shoes.
He stumbled into a unique type of organized chaos when he got to Les Amis headquarters, with medical staff and volunteers running around like crazy. Thankfully Bossuet saw him before he became too frantic and waved him toward the back rooms. Walking past Lamarque's office, he heard their boss screaming into his cell phone.
"Armed assault, Javart! Most of them were college students, what the hell kind of brutality was that!" The door was closed, but Grantaire could hear him near perfectly as he passed.
Enjolras was stretched out on a temporary cot by his desk, his distinctive red jacket over his chair. He was watching Joly scramble about with a dazed expression on his face and there was dirt on his face, blood in his hair. Grantaire felt his heart plummet into his stomach as he rushed over to them.
"What the hell happened!"
"Beanbag shotgun to the chest," Joly explained. "They cracked three ribs and gave him some pretty nasty bruises."
"'m fine," Enjolras whispered roughly.
"Of course, Apollo," Grantaire replied absentmindedly stroking his curls away from his face. "What else?" he asked Joly.
"Right now I've got him drugged to the gills so he stops trying to move with those ribs. Our other option was to strap him down but Lamarque vetoed that. He missed most of the pepper spray bombs that got thrown into the crowd, and all the other cuts and bruises came from the protest breaking up."
There were hundreds of other protesters currently crowded into HQ, so after giving strict instructions for Enjolras not to move, Joly dashed away to the next cot.
"You're an idiot," Grantaire scolded. If the cot had been bigger he would have curled up next to him, but right now he had to content himself with grabbing a box from the corner and sitting next to the blond. One hand was imbedded firmly in Enjolras' curls, the other entwined with his unbandaged hand.
Enjolras hummed and nuzzled gently at Grantaire's hand.
"Glad you weren't there," he muttered drunkenly. "Was loud."
Grantiare laughed bitterly. "Loud indeed. I should have been there. Look what happens when I leave you alone."
"Could have hit you," Enjolras continued. "Didn't want that. Love you."
Grantiare's breath froze in his chest. Of all the four letter words they had yelled at each other in the past, that had never been one of them. Panic welled up: God, how was he suppose to respond? What if he wasn't ready, what if he couldn't bring himself to say it, did he mean it-.
That thought brought him short. He would mean it. He did.
"I love you too," he whispered back, brushing a kiss over Enjolras' forehead. Enjolras smiled at him before turning to study their hands with far too much concentration. He had always been fascinated by Grantaire's hands and he was taking the opportunity to study them closely.
Lamarque found them an hour later, hand in hand and foreheads touching as Grantaire quietly categorized every instance in with the Da Vinci Code made the artist in him want to vomit.
"Also, that's not Mary Magdalene next to Jesus, it's John. He looks like a complete girl because that's just how adolescent boys got drawn back in the 1400s. Leaving aside the fact that assuming it's her means you're missing an apostle-,"
From the corner of his eye, he could see Lamarque draw near the edge of Enjolras' overflowing desk. But when he paused in his rolling litany, Enjolras made an annoyed sound and squeezed his hand in protest.
"The whole painting is mathematically perfect, which was so a Leonardo thing," he continued after a moment. "It's completely symmetrical-look at the windows, dammit- with a focal point on Jesus and it makes absolutely no sense to leave one of them out. Also? They're in what is essentially a cafeteria. Who puts a love story in a cafeteria?"
Lamarque moved on, obviously not wanting to disturb their tiny patch of insanity. Grantaire dropped a kiss onto Enjolras' cheek and started in on his rant about the crazy whipping monk.
When Grantaire opened the door, he found Enjolras sitting against the far wall, talking in low tones with Combeferre next to him. Bahorel was on his other side, allowing Enjolras to lean against him while Jehan was sprawled in front of them, throwing his own comments in lightly. Joly and Musichetta were curled up together, playing footie with anyone within range.
Enjolras fell silent as Grantaire stepped out, eying him with concern and a little apprehension, everything still lined with a faint tint of anger. He ignored the pang in his heart, and instead held out his hand in silent request. It filled him with a ridiculous warmth when Enjolras took it without hesitation. He drew his boyfriend out of the pile of limbs and led him to the bay windows at the end of the hall, within sight of the others but out of hearing range.
"I'm sorry," he started with instantly. "I let my dreams get away from me. I didn't mean to make you upset enough to call everyone."
"I only called Courfeyrac," Enjolras admitted, not releasing his hand. "Though I think we can safely assume he and Jehan are sleeping together."
That fact would have come as a surprise to no one but Enjolras. Grandaire still tried to look appropriately amazed as Enjolras began passing his hand back and forth between his own. The sunlight streaming though the bay windows hit his hair just right, giving him a golden halo that illuminated his features. Grandaire felt his heart- the older one, the one that had drowned his desire in drink and denied himself even the idea of happiness- fall in inescapable love.
He would do anything for this man. He would care about anything for this man. God help him.
"I've already called Valjean," Grantiare continued. Enjolras' hands began skating up his forearm, fingers barely skimming across his skin and raising goosebumps. "And I'm meeting him in a bit. Coffee is already going."
Enjolras hummed noncommittally, but the smile on his face was filled with relief and affection. Grasping one of his wondering hands, Grandaire held his arms out in silent invitation. After a moment, Enjolras stepped forward and allowed him to wrap him in a bone crushing hug.
"Was it really so horrible of a dream?"
"I had to watch you die," Grantaire muttered into the warm junction of the blond's shoulder and neck, voice soft to avoid cracking. "You were facing it like the brave, insane idiot you are but all I could do was stand beside you and pray that I died first so I didn't have to watch."
Enjolras grip tightened. "You where next to me?"
The kiss caught him off guard, sending him crashing into the wall as the force of it propelled him back. The wolf whistles from down the hall went unnoticed as he allowed Enjolras to press into him. He didn't even attempt to control the kiss, instead just giving his boyfriend license to ravish him. It was impossible not to smile as Enjolras withdrew, biting his lip as he went.
"Nice to know my nightmares turn you on."
"It's not that," Enjolras protested as his face turned red. "You just- There is so much more to you than what you see. At least your subconscious gets it."
Grantaire didn't know how to respond to that, so he didn't. Instead he took the opportunity to press a few more kisses into that tempting mouth. The caterwauling down the hall was becoming rather distracting though.
"As much as I'd love for this to continue, preferably somewhere without an audience, I need a shower before I head out."
"No you don't," Enjolras insisted, not loosening his grip in the slightest. Grantaire reluctantly eased far enough away to cradle his boyfriend's face between his hands.
"Tragically, I do," For all the revelations and breakthroughs of the past hour, Grantiare now had a lifetime of memories in his skull that were drenched in alcohol. That part of him was screaming for a drink and he wasn't sure he'd be able to resist it on his own. Talking with Valjean always helped, one way or another.
"Grab a cup of coffee," he suggested. "Go back to bed, and cuddle up to my pillow like I'm not suppose to know you always do when I'm out of town. I'll be back in a bit and we can enjoy the rest of the day. Good?"
Enjolras had too much dignity to blush at that, but he did look a little pink around the edges. Grantiare counted it as a win. One more kiss and he unenthusiastically broke away, leading them back down the hall.
His shower was quick and rough, mainly because he lost a good ten minutes gawking at the shower head before remembering he knew how to use it. When he emerged the others were crowded around their kitchen debating the newest EPA laws and whether big businesses would be following them.
Enjolras was sitting on the counter by the coffee maker, his hands wrapped around a barely touched mug. Grantaire didn't even hesitate to step in between his legs.
"Go back to bed," he said again, bumping their noses together. "I'll be back soon." Enjolras, never one to care about an audience, sunk his hand in the hair at the nap of his neck and gave him a biting kiss before releasing him.
"We'll walk him out," Courfeyrac said, setting his own mug aside and shrugging on his jacket. The others all made noises of agreement as they began filing out. Most of them lived in the same apartment complex as he and Enjolras, but it wasn't their day off and the working day called. Musichetta's cafe/apartment was only down the street, though judging from Bossuet's shirt on her and her jacket on Joly, he could guess where she had landed last night.
"We need to talk with you about everything," Combeferre explained in hush tones once they got to the hallway. "A debrief, if you will."
"Can we do it tomorrow?"
"I'd like it to be as soon as possible."
"So you're asking me if I want to spend my one day off this month talking about a failed revolutionary movement that got us all killed in a past life rather then in bed with my gorgeous boyfriend?"
"Well when he puts it like that," Bahorel smirked, clasping him on the shoulder. "We'll do it soon, 'Ferre. Today was more then enough excitement."
Combeferre looked annoyed for a moment, but instead rolled his eyes behind his black rimmed glasses.
"Alright, but call one of us if anything happens. It's going to be rough for the first week or so. You'll forget where you are, how to do things you've done since childhood, how things work."
"The point," Jehan took over as they stopped by his door for his and Courfeyrac's things. "Is that we're here when you need us. It's difficult, especially with Enjolras not knowing yet. You'll have to be careful of what you let slip." He handed over Courfeyrac's bag with a smile and kiss that had Bahorel gagging in the background.
God, Gantaire hadn't thought of that. But the alternative was leaving Enjolras, which wasn't an option at all. He'd just have to watch his words until it became habit.
"And eat," Joly commented, arm around Musicetta's waist. "I know you and Enjolras both forget you need to, but hunger makes it worse."
"I'll just make a few quick dinners and send them over," 'Chetta suggested, tone affectionate. "You know he's not going to remember."
"I'm not completely hopeless," Grantaire shot back.
"Of course you're not," Jehan said as they stepped outside, tightening their jackets against the wind. He huddled up to Courfeyrac, allowing the other man to twine his arm around his shoulders. "And look on the bright side."
"What bright side?"
"Vous pouvez comprendre le français maintenant." You can understand French now.
Grantaire blinked in surprise. That was definitely new.
They were screaming at each other again. It had started with something Grantaire couldn't even remember but it had ended with the alcohol. It always ended with the alcohol.
"Not all of us can be perfect fucking statues!" he had screamed, barely resisting the urge to throw something.
"And not all of us can be empty bodies running off alcoholic vapors."
"Jesus, you asshole. I'm trying to make you proud-,"
No sympathy shown in Enjolras' terrible eyes. "It's not my responsibility to make you a better person."
"I love you, you bastard!"
"That may be," Enjolras' voice was quiet, steady, and completely devoid of feeling. "But that doesn't I have to stay and watch you fall apart."
Grantaire slammed the lid shut on the memory, unwilling to relive that horrible night any more than his nightmares dictated. Valjean looked at him with open concern over the rim of his coffee cup.
Grantiare tilted his hand back and forth in reply. Now that he was here, he was reluctant to start talking but he didn't sensor his body language either. It was his way of telling Valjean he didn't mind if he pushed.
"Want to tell me what it was about?"
Grantaire bit his lip against the truth kicking at his teeth. He had planned to pass of his past memories as dreams, hallucinations from too much work and stress, but now that the moment had came he was finding it difficult to dismiss them as pure imagination from his subconscious. They were still so vivid; he could feel the grit from the dirt of the the barricades under his clean fingernails. His unmarked skin burned from where gunpowder had scorched it.
He wondered if Valjean remembered France. He recalled the man being vouched for by little Gavroche, and dragging the monarchist spy behind the building to shoot him. But he also remembered a warm, steady presence when he didn't think he deserved one. He remembered being talked down off the edge of a black abyss by that low voice more then once, especially during that first year. Valjean of 2013 knew him better than even Enjolras; knew his fears (falling back), his weaknesses (the apple fritters from 'Chetta's cafe and Post WWI surrealism), his goals (Enjolras).
His hands were shaking like they used to when he couldn't go five hours without a drink. That kicked his tongue into action.
"Enjolras got himself put in front of a firing squad," he decided to go with. "I had the chance to get away, but I stood by him." Let Valjean draw his own conclusions on where it all came from.
"That was brave of you."
"You know damn well it wasn't. I just didn't want to go on without him."
"This sounds like a pretty intense dream."
"It felt real enough."
Accepting that for what is was, Valjean stirred his coffee idly. He had yet to take a sip of it. Grantaire thought that particular trait had come around so that his hands had something to do after Cosette had bullied him into quitting smoking. He had become rather fugitive with his own smoke breaks as well now that Cosette was taking to showing Enjolras the studies she had found on nicotine addiction at every opportunity. Really, it was only a matter of time.
"Bravery can be motivated by many different things," Valjean said. "Guilt, pride, selfishness, righteousness, fury. I guess what matters in the end is that you decided to take a stand rather than walk away."
"Enjolras said something similar."
"Do you believe us?"
Grantaire took huge gulp of his own coffee. It hit his empty stomach like acid, churned by the stress of the day.
"Not really," he finally admitted.
"Because your made a decision with a thought to your own self-interest?"
Grantaire didn't reply to that in words, but his expression spoke loud enough.
"Alright," Valjean conceded, changing tactics. "Everyone drinks for their own reasons. I did to forget the beast inside me. Have you ever thought about why you did?"
Grantaire stayed silent for a long time. In reality, he had always known why he kept picking bottles up, but he had never admitted it. But Valjean had seen him at his worse and never judged. Even now, with Grantaire floundering and indecisive, he simply sat across from him and waited with an open face and a full cup of coffee in a cheap vinyl seat at a dinner with food he didn't eat. And any time Grantaire wanted to stop, he would. Even at his lowest, he found he couldn't turn away from that.
"I didn't think I deserved better," he finally said.
"And then you found someone who thought you did, faults and all. Love's terrifying but it's also stronger then any self destructive behavior you or I could ever dig up in ourselves. And that kind of love is a rush all its own."
In his mind's eye, Grantaire could see Valjean looking beyond him to a distant past, with a young, defeated prostitute and her even younger daughter. And more recently, a gravestone and a strong, beautiful, head-strong daughter. He gave the man the respect of a moment to gently place those memories back were they belonged.
"You have an addicting personality, Grantiare," Valjean continued after a heartbeat, smiling. "But parts of that personality are amazing. I've seen your artwork, after all. And once you want something you never stop. So what do you want?"
Instantly, golden hair and passionate words filled his skull.
"I want Enjolras to have the world." Grantaire was rather surprised how unashamed he was of that. Talking about himself was akin to pulling teeth, but the moment he was asked to talk about Enjolras, he could speak for hours on end. It was impossible to be embarrassed by the best thing in his life.
"Spoken like someone young and in love," Valjean teased. "And Enjolras' world starts with you."
"But we also know he doesn't need me."
Valjean chewed on that one for a moment.
"Enjolras has always struck me as never needing much. But he wants you, and I think you're both learning that while necessities give you life, desires make it worth living."
Valjean was stirring his coffee again. Grantaire contemplated drinking it himself to get him to stop.
"The question you have to ask yourself now," Valjean advised. "Is if the bottle is worth that."
That Grantaire could answer.
When he got back to the apartment, Enjolras was curled up in bed, just as he had hoped. There was a book propped open on his lap, however he didn't seem very engaged in its pages. In fact, most of his attention seemed to be on the laptop in the corner, if the glances he kept sending it were any indication.
"I thought you weren't going to work today."
"I'm not." Though Enjolras made it sound more like an accusation than a reassurance.
He didn't ask how his meeting with Valjean went, and he never would. Grantaire told him what he needed to and Enjolras never pushed for more than that. Instead, he jerked his chin toward his laptop, inviting Grantaire to look. He cracked open the top case, barely holding back his laughter. The parental controls had been activated on Enjolras' user account, locking him out of the computer.
"I assume you tried breaking in?" Grantaire asked, noticing the curser blinking in the password prompt window.
"I gave up after the twentieth try. I'll just threaten to murder Coufeyrac tomorrow until he lets me back in."
It had actually been Grantaire who had set the parental lock on the user, but he wasn't above tossing Courfeyrac under the bus in this case. Plan successful, he closed the laptop and crawled back in bed, intent on enjoying what was left of his day in true French fashion with his Apollo.
Two weeks later, Grantaire still hadn't decided if the feeling of wholeness was worth the skull pounding headaches and constant blur that seemed to overlay past France and present Boston. Sidewalks in particular proved challenging. Jehan and Joly assured him they would eventually pass, but they couldn't give him a decent timetable. Bahorel had experienced a singe massive migraine that had left him near catatonic when his memories had come back, but Courfeyrac had been saddled with smaller, half day long headaches for nearly a year.
The third time he stumbled while out during their lunch break, Enjolras rolled his eyes and tugged him over to the nearest coffee stand to order him a quad shot. He had been engrossed in his phone all morning, constantly reading, rereading, and notating a new environmental protection bill Lamarque wanted to lobby for.
Grantiare saw something twitch and stumble out of the corner of his eye, but his caffeine and past life induced headache didn't allow him to care much about it. That seemed foolish in retrospect.
"GRANTAIRE!" a shriek came from his left. He would have moved, really he would have, only a small brunette missile collided with his side before he could manage it.
Eponine looked up at him with wide, terrified eyes before breaking down into sobs, shaking in his arms. Grantaire instantly hugged her back. He had yet to met her in this lifetime and it surprised him how much he had missed her.
Enjolras glanced up, saw the mess Grantaire had gotten himself into, and went back to his phone with an unreadable expression on his face.
"'Ponine, you need to calm down, everything's fine," he tried to reassure her, tugging her just far enough away that Enjolras would have to strain to hear them. Fuck, as if having to hide a past life from his boyfriend wasn't hard enough on its own.
"They almost shot Marius, 'Taire, I-I had to do something-,"
"It's alright. Everything is fine," he reiterated. He didn't have the heart to tell her Marius and Cosette had been together for nearly two and a half years now, deliriously happy and unbreakable. That could come later.
Eponine continued cling to him, and all he could do was awkwardly sooth her in the middle of a crowded street corner. As it was, more then one set of eyes were watching them curiously, though he couldn't help but notice Enjolras' stayed firmly glued to his phone. He tried to spare a thought for that, but Eponine wasn't calming down and dammit, the middle of the street was not the place to do this!
"Let me get you to Combeferre's," Grantaire finally suggested. It was almost perfect, since it was his day off and his apartment was close by. And Combeferre had always had a soft spot for Eponine. Though Grantaire suspected he wasn't suppose to know about that last part.
"He'll be able to explain everything," Grantaire cut off her protests. He felt bad about not giving her more explanation, however there was just too much to cover and recent experience told him that a controlled environment helped a lot. Combeferre would be able to stay with her until everything came back.
Eponine still looked terrified, but nodded all the same.
"There's something else as well," he said, still holding her close. "I know this isn't going to make any sense, but Enjolras isn't going to know who you are. Just stay with me, keep your head down, and I'll keep you safe, okay?"
Eponine had grown up in far more dangerous situations then this a lifetime ago and knew how to survive. She nodded and tucked herself deep into his side as he tugged them back over to Enjolras.
"This is a friend of mine from AA." It was the one place were his and Enjolras' social circle didn't overlap. He supposed he should feel guilty about lying to his boyfriend, however he was pretty sure no one had ever been in this situation before. "I need to get her somewhere safe. Can I meet up with you in a bit?"
Grantaire was never more grateful for Enjolras' tendency to completely dismiss his surroundings when he was working. He barely tore himself away from his phone long enough to nod at Eponine, let alone take note of her wide eyes and disbelieving expression. He leaned forward and brushed an absentminded kiss onto Grantaire's lips before handed over his coffee.
"I'll be back at the office when you're done," he said as he disappeared around the corner.
"Are you sleeping with him?" Eponine asked in disbelief.
"Yep," Grantaire replied after a moment as he wrestled his phone out. God, he hoped Combeferre was home.
He had dropped Eponine off at Combeferre's with a demand to call him when she was settled better. Combeferre, in awe of seeing the women he had always admired standing before him, had simply nodded and ushered her inside with gentle care. Grantaire took a moment to let Courfeyrac and the others know about her as well before heading back to the office.
Enjolras met him at the entrance, barely allowing him to step in before his wrist was grabbed and he was yanked back out the door.
"Come on," he said, breathless and passionately annoyed. Grantiare thought he looked lovely. "Some fucker down in Mississippi thinks he can dump hazardous chemicals into the Delta and sue us when we find out, and I want his head. Lamarque says he has investors in town."
And that was how Grantaire spent his afternoon, watching Enjolras frighten and intimidate flabby old men into withdrawing their protection from a corporate tycoon with too much bio hazardous waste at his disposable. He couldn't say he particularly cared about the Mississippi Delta, but most fat cats had excellent taste in art and an impulse to show it off. And a fiery Enjolras was a vision all his own. Grantaire's eye was never bored. As they left the office of the latest investor, Enjolras was already back to his phone, reporting their progress to Lamarque.
A text from Combeferre let had Grantaire know Eponine was better and they'd have a debrief meeting for her as soon as they were all free. Joy.
"Your friend alright?" Grantaire started at the question. He honestly hadn't expected Enjolras to remember anything past toxic chemicals and the Mississippi Delta.
"Yeah, she just hit a rough patch."
"Then it's a good thing she found you."
Grantaire hummed distractedly, texting Combeferre back with most of his attention. But then an ugly thought reared its head in the back of his mind.
"I'm not cheating on-,"
Enjolras pressed a finger to his lips to shut him up. It landed off center, but considering his eyes were still locked on his phone screen it was a laudable feat.
"I work under the assumption you'll never cheat on me."
"You sound so sure of that."
Enjolras glanced up from his phone for the first time since the conversation began, blue eyes like steel pinning him down.
"Have we never had this conversation?"
"I think I would have remembered this one, even drunk off my ass."
Shrugging, Enjolras tucked his phone away and devoted his full attention to Grantaire. He had to bite his lip to keep his frustration at bay, because of course Enjolras would be perfectly okay having an emotional moment in the middle of a busy street corner. Only normal people believed in private moments happening privately.
"I know you've been cheated on twice, and the fact that you didn't tell me means it bothers you. You're not cruel enough to inflict that on someone else."
"How the fuck do you know that?" Grantaire never talked about his past relationships. They had been manipulative, unhealthy, and mostly fueled by love built on distain and obsessiveness. He grabbed Enjolras' jacket and tugged him into the alleyway off to the side, away from prying eyes.
"I Facebook stalked you when you first asked me out," Enjolras told him bluntly. There was no shame or regret in his face; there never was. "Besides, you know you'd be picking your teeth out of the dirt if you ever did that to me."
Grantiare was very aware of that fact. His Apollo was a violent soul when provoked. Enjolras took a step forward into his personal space, not touching but still pinning him between the side of the building and his own body.
"And I'll never cheat on you, because you don't deserve to be hurt like that again. Understood?"
"Understood?" Enjolras' voice was commanding, his eyes steady and unforgiving.
"Understood," Grantaire replied, bringing his arms up to settle around Enjolras' hips, drawing him closer.
"Glad to hear it." The phone back out between them, though Enjolras made no move to break out of his hold. "Now we're going to make out for ten minutes, because you spent the last hour staring at my ass and trust me, I noticed. Then we hit the next investor."
Grantaire grinned and leaned down to capture his boyfriend's lips in a deep kiss. And if they stayed in that alley for thirty minutes, no one needed to know but them.
Six months later, Grantaire was started into wakefulness when Enjolras jerked himself out of his arms, hitting the hardwood floor and stumbling away from the couch they had fallen asleep on.
"It's okay," he soothed as the blond hyperventilated, eyes darting from object to object around the room. He gently took Enjolras' face in his hands and pressed their foreheads together, whispering what he hoped were reassurances as memories came flooding back.
"It's alright, everything will be alright," he continued. "Just take a deep breath and let it come back."
"You came upstairs-,"
"Always," Grantaire said instantly. "I will always come and find you."
"We're fine," Grantaire insisted, pressing their bodies together even as Enjolras tried to tear himself away. "Everything is fine, Apollo. We're safe."
Enjolras stopped thrashing in his grip after a few minutes, instead clinging to him with a fierce strength. Grantaire slowly drew them back onto the couch, pulling his boyfriend into his lap. Enjolras' shoulders had started to shake, and he buried his face into Grantaire's shoulder.
"My head hurts."
"Do you want some aspirin?" Grantaire made a move to rise, but Enjolras wrapped his arms around his neck and refused to let go.
"I swear to God, if you move I will kill you."
Grantiare settled back down, curling his arms around Enjolras instead. Rested his chin in soft curls and breathed in the honey shampoo he had taken to using as Enjolras let out half mangled screams every time a particular memory hit. He tried to keep himself as relaxed as possible, muttered endearments in English and French as Enjolras sorted through everything.
"What is this?" he asked, voice shaking.
"We don't know. We haven't even figured out what triggers it."
"Me, Courfeyrac, Combeferre, some of the others."
"How long-oh. The dream?"
Grantaire hummed. He supposed he should text the other and let them know Enjolras remembered, but he couldn't bring himself to just yet. He wanted just a bit of this moment for himself, with he and Enjolras finally whole again and in each other's arms.
Finally, Enjolras raised his head. "I'm glad you stood by me."
Grantaire smiled, taking in his golden Apollo, soft with sleep and love in his eyes. No matter the lifetime, this man was his everything. The world could burn itself to the ground and he would care for nothing more than the man in his arms. Only Enjolras would never let the world burn. Past, present, or future, he would always try to change things for the better. Grantaire guessed he was okay with sharing, but only as long as he was the only one to see Enjolas like this, stripped down and soul bared.
"Anytime," he whispered, dropping a kiss onto Enjolras nose. "Anytime."