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The General's First Mage

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He would leave and never come back, but that wasn’t the the kind of man Grantaire was. He had just fucked over his boyfriend- he hadn’t meant to, at first, but he did- and there would be hell to pay, but he’d damn well smooth things over. Somehow. Hopefully. That didn’t mean he dreaded it any less… fuck all the Gods, Enjolras would probably leave him, find someone better, someone handsome, someone who was good at more than just magic and its forms… someone who could follow explicit orders from his commanding officer and carry out his mission, rather than risking everything in an unsanctioned jaunt well behind enemy lines for a stupid piece of ass.

Because if it came right down to it, what he did had come close to desertion, had well crossed into insubordination, and was definitely cheating. Enjolras would be pissed.

 

“Come in, soldier.” Enjolras didn’t turn to face him, didn’t stop writing, even, at the knock on the canvas tent. “And close the flap behind you.”

He let Grantaire stand behind him at attention as he continued to write. Grantaire even put an effort into the salute, the straightness of his back and the curve of his elbow, the tightness of his fist over his heart, and snapped his boot heels when he set his feet pointing forward, hoping that maybe observing protocol for once in his life would earn him a small measure of favor. And Enjolras noticed. Grantaire didn’t notice his boyfriend noticing, but Enjolras noticed, and set his jaw. So the boy was capable of observing command, then, when it suited him. He could learn, and simply chose not to.

Grantaire continued to watch the general seated before him, only now noticing his slight slump, his uncombed hair, the fact that he hadn’t even fully changed out of his riding clothes, remaining in his shirt, neckerchief, and riding breeches, his boots kicked to the side and crop laid across the desk. As the minutes passed, Grantaire began to shuffle, scuffing his feet along the rug and drawing patterns on the floor. Was Enjolras ever going to acknowledge him? This waiting was harder than the walk back. Just when he couldn’t take it anymore, when he was about to say something, anything, Enjolras spun around, and Gods, was he radiant in his anger.

“Shall I address you as one of my officers, or my lover? Choose carefully.”

What? “I- your lover. Enjolras, I’m so-“

“Shut. Up.” He closed the space between them in an instant, slapping Grantaire full across the face so that his head spun sideways and he fell out of attention, taking a few moments to right himself and process what had just happened.

“Enjolras, what-“ he began before another slap cut him off, driving into his cheek again but lingering this time, Enjolras’ hand warm against his face.

There was a look in Grantaire’s eyes, something fleeting that Enjolras barely caught as he looked past the hurt and contrition, that flickered for a split second as Grantaire leaned into Enjolras’ hand before catching himself.

Thank the gods Enjolras saw it, though it took him a few seconds to recognize- it was need. And that, surprising as it was, was something he could work with.

No one ever accused him of not being able to change tactics on the fly; he excelled at it, in fact, which was lucky for both of them.

“Kneel,” he demanded, and Grantaire dropped that instant, surprise written across his face. It was a practiced motion, as fluid as a master bowman’s draw, and revealed far more than Grantaire had intended but confirmed Enjolras’ suspicions quite tidily.

“You’re a brat.” It was a statement, but there was a hint of question in there. A should-we-or-shouldn’t-we, a fork in their relationship, a request.

And Grantaire, sweet, terrible Grantaire, allowed himself just a hint of a nod.

“Why did you hide it?”

“I didn’t know if you, you know-“ he shrugged helplessly. Enjolras knew, yes.

“And that’s why you went to this Montparnasse for it.” Grantaire’s head shot up. How did he- “What did he use? A flogger? Toys?” Enjolras’ voice became cruel. “His hand? Did he come inside you, Grantaire?”

“Please, Enjolras-“

“You’ll call me Sir right now. That’s not what you called him, is it?”

Grantaire frantically shook his head.

“Up, and take off your clothes, then.”

Shaking hands untied his breeches and waistcoat, but he hesitated on his shirt, and Enjolras turned him around, then placed both hands at the collar and ripped straight down the seam, revealing a matching bruise on each buttocks as Grantaire reluctantly pulled it off from the front.

Enjolras ungently cupped both cheeks. “Tell me, brat, what he did to you,” he demanded.

“Sir, I… he came inside me, sir. He used his hands.”

“Then I won’t be using mine. You don’t deserve them, if you’ll let just anyone touch you.”

“Enjolra- Sir- I-“

“No,” Enjolras snarled, “You don’t get excuses. Use your magic and soundproof the tent.”

“I-“

“Now, brat!” he demanded, voice striking gooseflesh all over Grantaire’s body. It was happening. It was really happening! Not the way Grantaire wanted- Gods, what he wouldn’t do to have it any other way, but it was happening. His golden god was going to give him what he needed… and perhaps a good deal more.

It was almost worth what he had just put Enjolras through- almost, not quite.

“Well?” Enjolras snapped him out of his reverie.

“Yes, Sir, it’s done.”

“Better. The whole camp won’t have to hear your cries, at least.”

Ouch. His cries? Just how-

“On my desk is my riding crop. Fetch it.” Shit. He’d been hoping to maintain some composure, this first time, maybe even enjoy it a little, if his guilt would let him. But Grantaire had never tried anything harder than some playful experimentation with a light paddle before. He didn’t think he wanted that much pain! “Brat. I said fetch the crop.”

“But Enjolras- I- I haven’t-“

Was it possible for Enjolras’ gaze to turn stormier? He stalked to his desk and picked up the crop himself, weighing it in his hands and swishing it through the air several times. “Did I ask you? Was I seeking your input? I know quite well what I’m doing, here, and I’ll thank you to remain silent unless spoken to.”

Enjolras had done this before? He’d actually dommed before, used implements? Why, oh why, hadn’t Grantaire gone to him with his needs sooner and avoided this whole mess? Gods, what had he been thinking?

Enjolras let the crop linger on Grantaire’s jaw as the younger man shivered into its embrace, traced it lightly across his lover’s lips, then tapped one, two, three times on R’s cheek, just hard enough to sting and bring a pretty blush to the surface.

“Towards our bed, brat, and hands on the headboard.”

Our bed. Even in his stunning anger, Enjolras allowed that concession. They would be okay.

Grantaire gratefully, gleefully complied, clutching the headboard for dear life and smiling like a fool- “Great gods!” he yelped, scrabbling to rub away the burning red stripe wrapped across his ass, “Oh, Gods, Enjolras, that hurts!”

“Get back in position!”

“Oh, Enjolras, no!”

“I mean it, R.”

Something low in his golden god’s voice sent shivers down his spine, and not entirely the good kind. It was with great trepidation that he slid his hands back across the headboard, and Enjolras kicked his feet well apart, clearly preparing for the long haul. Grantaire, on the other hand, was starting to rethink this. “Enjolras, maybe we could-“

“Be silent!” The command was accompanied by another stroke, and Grantaire involuntarily jolted upright once again.

“Oh! Oww!”

Enjolras’ strong hand between his shoulder blades forced him back down, and that action would have been delicious, but for the circumstances, and Grantaire bucked away from the next one, hopping and cursing halfway across the room.

“Gods take you, brat, can you not be still?”

Grantaire shook his head mournfully at that, wholly wishing so but unable to comply, unable to position himself for a single stroke more, and Enjolras seemed to see it, perhaps softening just a fraction.

“Fine. I have rope; brat, I’m tying you to the bedpost.” He inclined his head minutely in question, and if Grantaire had been anyone else, hadn’t been so attuned to the motions of his golden god, he would never have noticed, but as it was, R nodded back.

Taking his partner by his slender wrists, Enjolras led Grantaire back to the bed, fastening him with silken rope that at any other time Grantaire would have marveled at the surprise appearance of, might have speculated that rope could lead to even better things, but at that moment it was all he could do to allow himself to be tied, though he tried to keep his attention on different topics.

Like his dick, which, admittedly, was never far from his mind. How was he half-hard already, after just three strokes? Three admittedly agonizing, searing, life-changing strokes from none other than his beloved Enjolras? He supposed he had solved his own mystery, there-

“A’rekaz!” He tried to move away, but backwards there was only air and forwards there was only the bedpost, cool against his dick, and suddenly there were Enjolras’ hands cupping his burning cheeks, thumbs pressing into the stripes, oh, Gods, one creeping forward to stroke his balls, just the barest touch- Gods- “Shit! Oh, Shit, Enjolras, I mean Sir, please- shit, oh, Sir, Sir, Sir, oww!”

Had anyone ever slapped his dick before? No, he could verify, they certainly had not. There was no slapping near his dick. No, none indeed, but there Enjolras was, doing it again and again, and it hurt, how it hurt, but it felt just so wonderful too, like a whole new strain of magic searing a path through his body where none had existed before. He couldn’t decide if he wanted it to stop or keep going, though he wanted whichever it was desperately, but the choice was made for him when the touch disappeared and he felt a calming hand at his back, realized he was blabbering, when the hand too disappeared and- “Ooowwww!”

He was quite sure that stripe- it couldn’t have been more than a handful, but he had already lost track- was overlapping other ones, wrapping his bottom like a present. He bucked backwards into nothingness, and again forwards into the bedpost, rutting against the smooth metal. He knew that after the next few thrusts he would come, if he could manage just a few more.

“None of that, now,” Enjolras tsked, grabbing Grantaire by the hips and searing two more strokes within a second of each other against Grantaire’s skin.

Supported mostly by the ties around his wrists, Grantaire tried to wriggle into the ground as he cried out. With the next stroke he more than found his footing, for a moment becoming airborne by the wild magic within him as it protested, when Enjolras tugged him down by his shoulder, adding with perhaps a hint of reverence in his snarl, “None of that either.”

The crop found its way to his front, cradled his dick and balls, and after a few short taps Enjolras struck the head hard enough for Grantaire to cry out, tears forming in the corners of his eyes.

Again, and once more he struck the head, then his lover’s thigh, and finally landed the hardest stroke yet across the nest of stripes on his buttocks, and Grantaire absolutely screamed, collapsing into his bonds and sobbing.

He distantly registered the rope being untied, his lover’s gentle hands at his back maneuvering him into bed, and in the background was Enjolras murmuring to him, “You did so well, darling. Shh, it’s all okay. You were so good; you were so good for me. You did so well, so well, my mageling, my darling.”

“I- Ihh…. good? I… did… good?” Grantaire blubbered, distantly aware of Enjolras running his fingers through his hair, and how he had claimed fistfuls of his cherished general’s shirt and was utterly unwilling to let go.

Enjolras leaned down to kiss him on the head. “You did brilliantly. Perfectly, Grantaire.”

“I-“ There was something important, just beyond his reach, that he couldn’t grasp, and he furrowed his brows in thought, but everything was hazy and half-formed, and Grantaire couldn’t remember- Oh… fuck. “Oh, ‘Jolras,” he sobbed, “I’m so sorry- sorry- so- oh-“

“It’s all forgiven, mageling.” Those were the sweetest words he had heard all day, the benediction he had been praying for but was sure wouldn’t come. “But,” Enjolras continued, and his voice chilled considerably, “You try nonsense like that again, and I’m taking a real whip to you.”

“I promise no!” Grantaire assured, shivering into Enjolras’ lap.

“Good,” the general murmured into Grantaire’s scalp, “Because you’re mine- and despite what I might say about the dignity of humankind, and the abhorrence that is the ownership of humans by other humans- you’re mine. My boyfriend, my lover, my First Mage. You belong to no one but me. Also…” Enjolras let the silence draw out, for once rummaging for the words to fit his feelings. “I couldn’t lose you.”

He clutched Grantaire to him, leaning back against the pillows and resettling his lover around him, brushing the mage’s striped backside against the sheets, to which Grantaire weakly protested. “I couldn’t lose you,” he repeated. “When Courfeyrac reported to me that you had given your guards the slip- which we will talk about, by the way, when you’re coherent enough again to understand why slipping sleeping potions to unsuspecting victims is wrong- I guess we’ll talk about all this again- when he told me, I was terrified. I was even terrified when they sent word they'd found you. How could you just waltz fifteen miles into Royalist territory like it was nothing? I actually prayed to your Old Gods then, and you know I haven’t prayed in years. You’d almost driven me to it a few times in the months that we’ve been together, but I’d never actually bowed to the irrational urge. I was terrified, R. I’m not used to feeling terrified, and especially not for someone else. A'rekaz, Grantaire, I love you, do you know that? I've loved you for at least a year now-“

He looked down, and a reluctant smile crept across his lips as he realized that Grantaire must have fallen asleep halfway through his speech.

“Sleep, then,” he whispered, stroking his lover’s hair until he, too, closed his eyes.

Chapter Text

Grantaire smiled as he pulled the pillow he cuddled closer. Even through the fog of sleep he recognized that he hadn't felt this well-rested in as long as he could remember. Enjolras must have- shit. Enjolras.

Grantaire bolted upright, frantically looking around the tent for- oh. There he was, sitting at his desk and looking over some sort of supply list.

"You're awake," Enjolras smiled carefully as Grantaire strode over to him completely naked. "I hated to leave your side, but Bahorel sent a list of- what are you doing?" He asked when his lover sunk to his knees before him.

"I'm so sorry. Truly, I am. I can't believe I cheated on you- I cheated on you. I'll understand when you tell me to leave, and I swear you'll never have to see my sorry face again-"

Sliding to the floor, he placed gentle hands on Grantaire's bare thighs. "Please stop. Last night-"

Grantaire nodded miserably. "I deserved that. I deserved so much more, for hurting you like that. Please, Enjolras, please don't drag this out. I can't-" he swallowed, squeezing shut his eyes for a moment, "please. You've come to your senses and can't stand the presence of this argumentative drunken fool, but tell me to leave and be done with it. I can't-"

He quieted at the press of Enjolras' lips to his forehead. "R, I forgive you. I forgive you completely. I was... angry, last night, and I should never have done that. Without a safeword, without discussing it- a'rekaz, I was stupid. I forgive you, but can you forgive me?”

Grantaire let out a feral, strangled laugh. “Gods! How can you be this kind, after what I did? How can you bear the sight of me?”

Enjolras frowned, pulling away so only his knees were touching Grantaire's. Even the thick valley air seemed to still as he struggled to word his answer, and Grantaire could see it coming together across his face. He liked that, watching solutions come to Enjolras piece by piece, here a twitch of the nose and there a blink. He didn't dare to hope that he would be allowed to continue to watch them. “When I found out you cheated on me and were somewhere behind enemy lines, my heart felt like it was being ground into tiny bits of sand. It was such an intense horror- I desperately wanted it to turn out to be some bizarre, humorless joke. But I know I'd experience that feeling- worse- every day of my life if I gave you up. I would always wonder where you were, if you were still smiling despite the war and everything else, if you were even still alive. Not knowing- it would hurt far more than you cheating. I need to always know that you're all right; I need you to always be here beside me, be there to get in the last word, to point out the flaws in all my logic, to hold onto. I love you, Grantaire. Of course I need you here.”

Slowly, giving his lover time to stop him, he pulled Grantaire's lightly muscled frame in close to his own.

"But how could you want me?" Grantaire wondered, carefully, reverently returning the embrace, "I'm so horribly-"

"Don't keep going." Enjolras cut him off, "Because whatever manner of insult you were going to deal to yourself, it's not true."

"But Enjolras-"

"No." He pressed a tentative kiss to Grantaire's lips, running his teeth lightly across the lower lip. "Whatever it is, I can promise you it's not true."

Marveling at the wonder of a human being his boyfriend was, Grantaire tentatively smiled, a cautious wisp of a grin, into Enjolras' kiss.

"So." Enjolras cleared his throat as he backed up just enough for conversation, suddenly awkward, "I think we should talk about last night."

Grantaire offered a solemn nod, clasping Enjolras' larger hands in his.

“I shouldn't have done that without talking to you- and for what it's worth, I'm so sorry.”

“There's nothing to forgive. We both needed that, and maybe we should have talked about it first, but I kind of liked it, and it's even something I had wanted for a little while. Not under those circumstances, but.”

The tension in Enjolras all seemed to escape his body in a rush, leaving him slouched in relief like Grantaire had never seen him before. "In that case, I'm sorry again, and just glad you're okay."

"You couldn't really hurt me, you know."

Enjolras cocked his head in question.

"I could always stop you with magic, remember. Even if I was unconscious or sleeping, my wild magic would stop you like it's stopped people before. Probably. Maybe. Well, I'm not sure the wild magic that lives inside me would stop you, even if you actually wanted to injure me, but as long as I was awake I could use my own magic to stop you. As long as I wasn't asleep or something, in which case, my wild magic might actually let you kill me or something, since it's you- um. Never mind. Anyway, you couldn't hurt me, is what I'm saying. You mostly couldn't hurt me.”

That really wasn't reassuring at all. Enjolras vowed to return to the subject at a later time, but Grantaire looked so terribly uncomfortable in that moment that he changed the topic. “You said you actually kind of liked last night?”

“A little. I wouldn't want it nearly that rough every day, but in some ways it was really great.”

“Would you want to do it again sometime?”

“Yes,” Grantaire breathed, “Definitely.”

“Then we should have a safeword.”

“How about 'red'?”

“That would work.”

“If we're doing this...” Grantaire hesitated. “If we're doing this, I should tell you- sometimes I need to be punished, a little.” He ran a hand through his messy curls. “I- when I'm especially difficult, it's because I need it. To be punished.”

Enjolras nodded, in complete agreement. “I was hoping to bring that up too at some point; it's something I've been wondering about for a while now. But are you sure you're okay with taking this outside of just play?”

“We've already reached that point,” Grantaire huffed out a laugh. “We went about this in all the wrong order.”

“We kind of did,” Enjolras grinned, standing and pulling Grantaire to his feet as well. “I- gods! Your backside should be a mess of stripes right now- how have you been sitting this long?”

“My wild magic healed me overnight, I assume. This is nothing; you should have seen that time I regrew my femur,” he chuckled.

Entirely unsure of how to respond to that fact, Enjolras began to button up his crimson coat. “We have a meeting with all the First-ranked officers and Combeferre that I was going to let you sleep through, and at this point I'm running a little late. If you want to get dressed we could head over together, seeing as you're healed?”

“Of course!” Grantaire grinned, rummaging through his trunk beside their bed for a minimally rumpled outfit and putting on clothing as he found it. He cheerfully grabbed an apple from the basket of fruit on the desk and followed Enjolras as he held open the tent flap for Grantaire to exit behind him.

“So,” Grantaire pointed out between bites of the apple as a young child ran past them waving a wooden sword at her playmate, “What do we tell the others? Do they know what I did?”

Falling into stride beside him, Enjolras hesitated a bit before answering. “I'm afraid so. Most of the camp, if they care, probably assumes your mission at the front just ran a few days long, but all of the Firsts know, as does Courf, obviously. He was the one who told us all. And I suppose your guards know that you crossed the border, considering you gave them sleeping potions and disappeared, but they have no more details than that.”

“All the Firsts know?” groaned Grantaire, raising his hands to press his face into before he remembered the apple and made due with one. “Oh, shit, Combferre is going to be so pissed. He doesn't think we should be seeing each other to begin with.”

“He doesn't?” Enjolras raised an eyebrow, “Has he said something? That doesn't seem like him.”

“Well, no, but it's easy to tell. He looks at me like he's trying to decide what kind of insect I am- and I can tell you, I don't rank as one of his moths. I'm more like one of those creepy stick bugs we've been seeing around lately, the ones that blend with everything and ooze purple if you're unlucky enough to step on them.”

Struggling to hide his traitorous grin, Enjolras disagreed, “That's just his face, R. He doesn't dislike you.”

“He looks at you like one of his moths.” Grantaire fiddled with the apple core, trying now to conceal a smile of his own.

“...I'm special.” The smell of boiling laundry and 6 months worth of their soldiers' occupation in the valley, coupled with the runoff from the nearby town and all the necessary industry that follows an army, made crossing one of the bridges over the river an unpleasant experience. Enjolras noticed a few camp followers fishing- how were there even fish in that river still? Several soldiers noticed he was passing by and saluted.

“Indeed you are.” laughed Grantaire, clapping his lover on the back. “But seriously, Enjolras, what will they think of me? Hell, what I did basically counts as desertion. And how do we explain the lack of tension here? I can't very well go telling them, 'Oh, Enjolras was angry but he took a crop to me and now everything's good.'”

“Shhh!” Enjolras scolded, “Don't let the whole camp know.” He huffed out a breath. “It's okay to tell the firsts, R. And even a few mages you trust. I plan on telling Combeferre, so you can tell a few people if you want, as long as word doesn't spread around.”

“Wait- you're telling Combeferre? But-”

“And you're not telling Eponine?” prodded Enjolras as they walked past rows of tents and different companies. Their own tent was more out of the way, still central but not quite right in the middle of things.

“Okay. Fair point,” Grantaire agreed.

“You might want to think up what to tell them fast, though, because we're here,” Enjolras pointed out, gesturing at the strategy tent.