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Feuilly hasn’t studied art – he hasn’t studied anything, actually, and if he had, it certainly wouldn’t have been art. But circumstances have found him in front of an old dresser, with a can of paint and a brush in his hand, and he enjoyed it. Since then there have been canvas, too, of different sizes, and different projects. Feuilly’s painting doesn’t put the bread on the table, no, but he enjoys it, when he has the time.

Grantaire is different – Grantaire has studied, Grantaire’s art actually sells, and Grantaire’s hands are stained with ink and charcoal when he drops by Feuilly's apartment on Sunday afternoon. There’s coffee and music in the kitchen, and that's all for a little while, until they move to the living room and the topic switches to Feuilly’s project – now projects – to the dozens of colours, in their neat little bottles littering every surface.

Grantaire teases him, calls him an artist, but says that artists aren’t this neat, not in the real world, so Feuilly fights back, and suddenly there’s light crimson paint on Grantaire’s cheek.

Now, later, the sun is setting and casting a glow of harvest gold and imperial red on the world, through the window and the pale curtains of Feuilly’s living room. Drops of light sea green and cornflower blue mar the old worn carpet, rough against the naked skin of his back. He feels every grain, every touch his driving him out of his mind – he blinks quickly, the room swimming before his eyes. How did I get here? He wonders for half a moment.

Above him, Grantaire dips his finger in acrylic and draws a line of deep moss green on Feuilly’s bare chest. There’s still traces of charcoal on Grantaire’s nose, Feuilly notices when his eyes settle on his face, and it’s as dark as his eyes with their pupil blown, the deep sky blue reduced to a tine line. Their bodies are glowing; Feuilly’s fair and freckled tone against Grantaire’s golden beige skin, and both are slick with sweat and paint. They slip, grasp and touch, breathing heavily. The room his quiet, save for the noises they make and the loud vibrancy of the colours around them, on them.

“Goes with you eyes,” Grantaire comments, looking at his handiwork, the handprints of fern green on Feuilly’s arms, the flecks of mint on his throat. “Pretty,” he says, but the smirk on his lips and the mocking tone in his voice make Feuilly want to smack him.

Instead he tangles his fingers in Grantaire’s hair, turning a few strands of brown a bright cardinal orange. Grantaire hisses and pushes his hips down, and Feuilly moans loudly.

Grantaire draws back, still smirking.

“Hey, come back,” Feuilly’s voice isn’t needy, it never is, but his eyes, too, are dark with lust.

“Be patient,” Grantaire says.

“I am angry,” Feuilly replies, brows furrowed in an attempted glare. “You’re making a mess.”

But Grantaire has his back to the window, and the setting sun brings out natural highlights of deep Tuscan red in his hair, like a halo. His face is shadowed but his teeth are white and his shoulders are strong. From Feuilly's position on the floor, he looks wild, dangerous, and gorgeous.

“You too,” Grantaire says, voice low, and he pushes in.

“Asshole,” Feuilly grunts shakily. "This is the last time I ask you about art-"

Grantaire chuckles and moves deeper, and Feuilly barely has enough sense left in him to make out what he says next.

“Hey, if someone's being an asshole here, I really don’t think it’s me.”

For a cynic, Grantaire has a lot to say, his words a weapon he uses unsparingly, and he is even more comfortable in this art than he is with his fists and his paintbrushes. The flow of words spills from his lips, unrestrained and merciless, and Feuilly, not annoyed but impatient, reaches up with long fingers for Grantaire’s mouth. There is carnation pink and Eton blue on his palms and on his knuckles, and paint is a taste Grantaire still has to acquire, so he closes his lips and settles on kissing every inch of Feuilly’s skin that isn’t covered in drying colours or fresh bruises (Chinese violet and finger-shaped).

He comes undone before night falls and the room becomes completely dark – Feuilly follows him a minute later, biting his lip until it turns white. His cheeks are still a deep carmine as he shakily sits up. Grantaire punches him on the shoulder, lightly, before he has a chance to speak.

“Clean it tomorrow,” he smirks, grabbing a cushion from the couch and pushing Feuilly to lie down again. Feuilly doesn’t argue, and if the dried paint on his skin is uncomfortable and itchy, he is too exhausted to care. He falls asleep as soon as his head hits the cushion, Grantaire’s arm flung lazily across his chest.