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Grantaire is three seconds away from throwing his paint water across the room when he's saved from actually acting on the impulse by a knock at the door.

Sighing, Grantaire throws his brushes down with more force than necessary and practically stomps towards the door. The stress that's been itching at the back of his mind all week seems to intensify at the insistent knocking- he isn't expecting company and Joly and Bossuet had promised him free reign of their flat for the day when they went to the library to study.

It's finals week and everyone is very highly strung- including Grantaire himself, who has a full portfolio review scheduled for the upcoming Tuesday.

A portfolio review for which his main piece isn't even finished.

The knocks come again, more insistent this time, and Grantaire has no idea who the intruder is, but they better have a fucking good reason for disturbing him.

In his frustration, he wrenches the door open, "WHAT?" he demands of the person on the other side.

Enjolras blinks back at him, stunned.

Ah. Of course.

Grantaire fights the urge to slam his head against the nearest available surface and forces himself to act like he didn't just yell rudely in his boyfriend's face.

His boyfriend, who is currently stood outside Grantaire's door with red-rimmed eyes and the most vulnerable expression of sadness that Grantaire has ever seen him wear.

Well fuck.

"Enjolras? Shit, sorry, I'm... Hang on." Grantaire steps out of the doorway quickly, allowing Enjolras to enter the mess of a flat he shares with his two best friends.

Enjolras doesn't move but regards Grantaire with tired eyes, "I can leave if- If you're busy-" he starts and then cuts himself off. Grantaire frowns; Enjolras is nothing if not direct, but right now he appears to be struggling to meet Grantaire's eye.

And Grantaire is busy- his final piece needs finishing, and soon at that, but the afternoon so far has made it abundantly clear that Grantaire is making no progress whatsoever.

And fuck, Enjolras looks as if he's been crying and Grantaire is not going to throw his boyfriend out when he's been crying. 

"No," he blurts, a little too loudly. "You can stay. I mean, it's- No, no I'm not busy. You can stay."

Enjolras looks at him doubtfully, "Are you sure? I can go somewhere else if you are."

Enjolras looks horribly unsure now and Grantaire hates seeing that expression on his face because, fuck, Enjolras is rarely unsure about anything. Turning Enjolras away right now would be- Grantaire can't think of an appropriate adjective to describe just how wrong that would be.

"Enjolras, I said it's no trouble, and really, it's no trouble. Now get inside." He motions for Enjolras to enter, only a few seconds away from dragging the man in himself.

Enjolras steps forward hesitantly, looking even more uncomfortable once he's stood in the middle of the modest flat.

"Tea?" Grantaire asks, because it's one of his greatest philosophies in life: Tea solves everything.

Enjolras startles from where he's staring at a framed photograph that Grantaire had taken of Joly and Bossuet last Halloween. "Please." he smiles at Grantaire but it looks strained, stretching his mouth in weird ways.

"Sugar?" Grantaire asks, breathing a sigh of relief when Enjolras shakes his head. He doesn't know if he could handle being in a committed relationship with someone who takes sugar in their tea. "Make yourself at home," he calls from the doorway of the small kitchenette; Enjolras still hasn't sat down.

Grantaire makes tea as quickly and efficiently as possible to stop himself from freaking out. Obviously he's seen Enjolras upset before, but this is the first time Enjolras has deliberately sought him out whilst sad. Grantaire is self-aware enough to know that his brain is laying more weight on the situation than is perhaps necessary- but still. This is big.

What on earth possessed Enjolras to come to him, anyway? Surely if he was feeling sad, it would've been Combeferre or Courfeyrac that he'd turned to?

Grantaire is woefully unprepared to deal with this- not that he doesn't want to, of course- he'd give his left arm to be there whenever Enjolras needed him on any given day, despite how unhealthy that may seem.

Only... he'll fuck it up. They've been taking their relationship slowly, but it's been good so far, and Grantaire does not want to mess that balance up. Scenarios of him saying the wrong thing and having Enjolras storm out of his flat more worked up than he'd entered it flash through Grantaire's mind at the thought.

Even now, he's hiding in the kitchen thinking about how the situation affects him, rather than Enjolras, who is legitimately distressed in the other room.

Some small, distant part of him knows he's being irrational, but just because he knows he's being irrational it doesn't make it any easier to stop.

Save it for later, Grantaire tells his brain- which for some reason seems to be doing its best to give Grantaire an anxiety attack. Not now.

Taking a few deep breaths to calm himself, Grantaire adds a drop of milk to the tea with impressively steady hands and turns back to the task at hand.

When Grantaire walks back into the living room, he finds Enjolras sat with his elbows perched on his knees, head in his hands. He looks up when Grantaire walks in.

"Thanks." Enjolras says when Grantaire hands him his mug. (Red, of course.)

They drink in silence for a while and Grantaire feels overly aware of every small movement- from the warmth of the mug in his hands to the heat of Enjolras' thigh pressed against his. Eventually, Enjolras puts his cup down and Grantaire follows suit.

"So," Grantaire begins, the universal word for 'I have no other way to start this conversation', "What's up?" He aims for casual, hoping to put Enjolras more at ease.

Enjolras sighs heavily. "I fought with Combeferre." he says in a rush, like Grantaire's encouragement was all he needed to be able to say it.

Grantaire blinks. "Oh." he says intelligently.

Enjolras makes a noise in the back of his throat that Grantaire deciphers as 'I know right.' and runs a hand through his unkempt blond curls.

"How come?" Grantaire asks, willing the casual to stay in his voice.

He can't remember Enjolras and Combeferre ever having fought before. It's not even something that he can imagine, now that he tries. Obviously he knows that they must have the occasional disagreement- what friends don't? Combeferre and Enjolras had always seemed so above that sort of thing, their friendship one of diplomacy and deep-rooted trust.

Then again, considering Enjolras' history of anger issues and Combeferre's tendency to snap at people when he gets too stressed, plus the additional pressure of finals, and- well. Put that way, Grantaire's not surprised Enjolras is currently seeking refuge in his flat.

"It was stupid." Enjolras says immediately. "I don't even know- it was just. Stupid."

Grantaire tries to think of a response that doesn't sound awfully patronising, but is spared the task by Enjolras continuing, "We're both really high-strung because of finals, but I... I just lost my temper. I said some things I shouldn't have- cruel things, and I know I have to go back and apologise. I just wanted to give us both some time to cool down." he's avoiding Grantaire's eyes when he finishes, like he's scared he'll find judgement there.

Which is ridiculous, really; since when is Grantaire in any position to judge?

Grantaire isn't sure he trusts himself to speak so he rests a hand on Enjolras' knee instead.

"He'll forgive you." Grantaire offers. He may not be sure of much, but he is sure that it will take a lot to come between Enjolras and Combeferre's friendship. "I'm pretty shit at this whole making people feel better thing, but I do know he'll forgive you for whatever it was you said."

Enjolras lets a breath out slowly through his teeth, "You're right." he says, shoulders slumping. "I just regret snapping at him. I overreacted completely and he didn't deserve that."

"At least you've got your apology speech half written, right?" Grantaire tries to joke, nudging Enjolras' side with his elbow. His gamble seems to have paid off when the corners of Enjolras' mouth raise ever so slightly.

(Besides, it's not even a joke; Enjolras really does write apology speeches- Grantaire knows because he's received his fair share of them over the years they've known each other. It's an altogether uncomfortable yet slightly endearing experience.

Enjolras is severe in everything, even his apologies.)

A few moments pass in silence. Grantaire hasn't yet found an appropriate time to move his hand from Enjolras' leg, and the longer he leaves it there the more awkward he can feel it becoming. He briefly debates moving his hand to rest on Enjolras' thigh, but even though they've become very tactile within the past two months there are still certain boundaries that Grantaire doesn't want to cross.

He knows Enjolras' hesitancy at physical intimacy comes from a fear that he won't be able to enjoy it due to his dysphoria. It'd been one of the first conversations they'd had upon entering their relationship (Grantaire considers it one of his greatest accomplishments that he didn't spontaneously combust during that particular discussion,) and he's has been extremely conscious of not doing anything that could potentially trigger his boyfriend's dysphoria ever since. He makes sure to ask whenever they take it a step further than usual, but he's pretty sure asking 'Can I touch your thigh to try and comfort you? Because I have put myself in a really awkward position here and I'm not sure there's any other way out of it' is maybe taking it a step too far.

So his hand remains on Enjolras' knee.

Grantaire is saved from dying a very slow and painful death when Enjolras solves the problem by covering Grantaire's hand with his own. Grantaire intertwines their fingers and squeezes Enjolras' hand gently.

"I can be a terrible person sometimes." Enjolras says, so quietly that Grantaire wonders for a second if he was even supposed to hear, or if Enjolras was merely thinking aloud.

Occasionally, Grantaire gets so caught up in his own self-doubt that he has difficulty remembering that other people suffer from it too- especially Enjolras.

For years before they even became friends Enjolras was some sort of beacon to Grantaire. He's well aware that he didn't have a crush so much as an infatuation in the beginning. He needed something to believe in and Enjolras was right there, all golden and holy and so so bright against Grantaire's darkness. He'd maybe idealised the man more than was healthy (in his defense, Grantaire wasn't exactly the epitome of health at the time either.)

Now, after years of friendship and actually getting to know Enjolras, Grantaire can't believe how naive he was to uphold him as some sort of God-like figure. Enjolras was never infallible, Grantaire can see that now, and he wishes he could express to Enjolras just how much better that makes him. To be mortal, to have flaws, is the very nature of being human, and Grantaire only wishes he'd allowed himself to see that sooner.

"You can be," Grantaire starts cautiously, picking his words carefully, "So can the rest of the world." And then, because he really can't resist: "It's what I'm always saying- human beings are terrible by nature, of course that doesn't exclude you."

Enjolras snorts, actually fucking snorts, and Grantaire has a hard time hiding his grin. "You're wrong." Enjolras argues, "So terribly wrong."

"Glad that you think so." Grantaire says, and he is, he really is. "But seriously. You're not a terrible person. Far from it."

Enjolras' expression turns hard again, and Grantaire brings his hand up to Enjolras' cheek, turning his head until they're looking at each other.

"No-one's perfect." Grantaire says.

"I know that." Enjolras protests.

"Then you understand that you're allowed to include yourself in that."

Enjolras doesn't say anything; his eyes flit to a space above Grantaire's left ear rather than his face.

"Hey," Grantaire says softly, "You're allowed to fuck up. You'll apologise to Combeferre and he'll forgive you and you can try and do better next time. This doesn't make you a terrible person, Enjolras."

Enjolras scowls, but it quickly transforms into an expression of tenderness as he meets Grantaire's eyes.

Enjolras leans forwards until his forehead is touching Grantaire's; moving his hands up to rest either side of Grantaire's neck. When their lips touch it's like warmth floods Grantaire's body- Enjolras' lips are as soft as always but he kisses Grantaire deeply, thumbs brushing along the underside of Grantaire's jaw.

When they break apart, Enjolras' eyes stay closed, the smile on his mouth illuminating his face. Grantaire's fingers itch to paint, to capture this moment in watercolour forever.

"Can I stay over here tonight?" Enjolras asks, "If it's no trouble of course. I'd hate to intrude."

Grantaire startles a little at that. "Yeah, sure. It's, uh, no trouble. Joly and Bossuet will be home in a few hours or so but they'll be fine with it. Have you eaten?" Grantaire asks, thinking fast.

Enjolras frowns, "No, why?"

"I can call and ask them to pick us up something on their way back from the library if you're hungry."

"Only if it wouldn't be an inconvenience for them."

Grantaire scoffs, and makes a mental note to send a text to Bossuet before Enjolras changes his mind.

"Is pizza good?"

"Pizza's great." Enjolras smiles.

"Awesome. Um, I'm just going to go and get my tablet to draw with. Do you need anything?"

"Actually, if you wouldn't mind lending me your laptop? I have some work I should catch up on."

"Yeah, of course," Grantaire aims for his friendliest smile, "Be right back."

'Right back', it turns out, is a lie. First Grantaire has to successfully locate his tablet and laptop from his mess of a room- which, now he's noticed it, is really fucking messy. Then Grantaire's mind supplies him with the unhelpful idea that Enjolras could very well see Grantaire's bedroom later on which leads to him frantically trying to shove things away and make his living space look at least barely presentable.

He's also freaking out slightly, of course, because this is the first time either of them has stayed over at the other's place and-

Okay, so maybe Grantaire's overreacting. It's not that big of a deal. If he keeps freaking out at every first he and Enjolras have, whether minor or major, his body will never relax.

(And sure enough, just the thought that they'll be more firsts for Grantaire to freak out over makes both panic and happiness crowd in his chest. It's quite a paradox, really.)

Forcing himself to calm the fuck down, Grantaire takes out his phone and sends a text to Bossuet as a distraction.


You [6:17pm]: can u pick up pizza on ur way back from library ??? also enj is staying over tonight :)))


You [6:17pm]: joly give bossuet his phone back

boss man [6:18pm]: Can't. He always manages to turn the volume back on and then it rings and then we get kicked out


You [6:19pm]: dude u've known enj for longer than i have

You [6:20pm]: also u n bossuet r both younger than me


boss man [6:20pm]: Hey R this is Bossuet, what type of pizza do you and Enjolras want bringing back?

You [6:21pm]: bossuet u saint. just normal veggie will do pls. ur my hero.

boss man [6:21pm]: Will do! Have fun with Enjolras! Don't do anything i wouldn't do, son! ;)



"Pizza's been ordered!" Grantaire announces with a flourish as he re-enters the room, flopping down on the sofa next to Enjolras, handing him the laptop and settling into the cushions with the drawing tablet.

There are still worry lines on Enjolras' face as Grantaire re-joins him on the sofa. He rests a hand on Grantaire's shoulder and smiles tentatively at him, "Thanks for this." he says, and Grantaire will never be able to get over how fucking sincere one single person can be.

"No problem." Grantaire replies. His heart feels like it's going to jump out of his chest. "Anytime."

Enjolras squeezes his shoulder lightly and goes back to starting the laptop.

Grantaire's drawing goes well; he manages to get three full panels done in the time he spends sitting next to Enjolras, despite getting regularly distracted by the other man's fingers tapping away on the keyboard, or how his hair flickers gold in the dim light.

(Okay, so maybe a few of Grantaire's drawings are of Enjolras instead of his portfolio material.)

The time passes with little conversation between them, but it's not awkward. Occasionally, Enjolras will ask for Grantaire's opinion on the wording of a sentence or badger him for a different point of view. Even more rare are the times when Grantaire will lean over and show Enjolras the piece he's just been working on, asking him 'Do these colours look right?' or 'Should the lines be thinner?', to which Enjolras will praise and praise before admitting he knows nothing of art but 'That one could use some more red, maybe?' Grantaire finds it adorable.

When nine o' clock comes, Joly and Bossuet burst through the door, pizza in tow. Joly immediately runs over to the sofa and envelops Enjolras in a large hug, Enjolras laughing as he struggles to reach Joly over the laptop between them.

After the pizza is gone, Joly and Bossuet pull Grantaire aside as Enjolras goes back to typing up his essay.

"So," begins Joly. "Enjolras."

Grantaire glances out of the doorway to check the man in question isn't listening before resigning himself to interrogation. "What about Enjolras?"

"How are you two?" Joly asks, oddly sincere.

"Well, he hasn't dumped me yet so." Grantaire shrugs.

Bossuet frowns. "Why would he dump you, R? You're a great boyfriend."

Grantaire smiles but drops his gaze, suddenly feeling like the weight of the world is on his shoulders. "Speaking from experience, Bossuet? How would you know I'm a good boyfriend. As I seem to recall, we've never dated." It's possible there's more venom behind his words than Grantaire would like there to be, and for a split second he feels guilty for addressing his friend so cruelly. But then Bossuet snorts in amusement.

"Well, no, but I've dated Joly and you guys are kinda similar, so it only stands to reason you'd be a good boyfriend because Joly here happens to be an excellent boyfriend." At this, Joly stands up on tiptoe to kiss Bossuet on the cheek. "Like causes resemble like effects, and all that." Bossuet finishes.

"I'm pretty sure that's a wrong use of Hume's theory, but whatever." Grantaire says, and he's grinning now too. His friends always have a knack for getting him to smile.

Joly and Bossuet disappear to their room with a wave, but not before Bossuet almost squeezes him to death in a hug that's more of a wrestling grip and Joly runs a hand through Grantaire's wild curls affectionately.

Grantaire doesn't know what the fuck he ever did to deserve those two.

When he and Enjolras finish their respective work a few hours later, Grantaire is faced with another dilemma. They're not-quite curled up on the sofa watching a programme about a certain type of plant species when Enjolras yawns.


Enjolras makes a protesting noise in his throat before sighing. "Just a little."

"It's been a long day." Grantaire says, feeling bold as he stretches his legs across Enjolras' lap.

Enjolras laughs as he rubs a hand over his face. "Yeah." he agrees, bringing his hands to rest on Grantaire's knees.

"Wanna call it a night?" Grantaire offers, fully aware that it's only a little past midnight, and if he was on his own there would be no way he'd even think about going to bed so early.

Then again, most people's sleep schedules aren't as fucked as Grantaire's.

Enjolras purses his lips for a second and then nods slowly. "Where would I be sleeping?"


Grantaire thinks over his options quickly. Enjolras could stay in his room, that one's obvious. Should Grantaire dare to suggest they share the bed? What if Enjolras gets the wrong impression? Grantaire does not want to do anything that's going to make Enjolras uncomfortable, but then again, Enjolras would definitely be uncomfortable if Grantaire were to suggest that Enjolras should sleep in the bed whilst Grantaire himself takes the sofa, gallant bastard that he is. And Grantaire is not about to let his boyfriend sleep on the lumpy couch, no fucking way.

"Grantaire?" Enjolras asks, prodding Grantaire's leg. "I can take the sofa, it's fine."

"Wait, what?"

"I said I'll take the sofa, it's not a problem."

Grantaire gapes for a good moment or two before he manages to speak. "No! No, I mean, you can, er, I don't mind if you wanted to... y'know, share the bed. The opposite of mind, really." Grantaire bites down on his cheek roughly.

Enjolras looks as though he can't decide whether he's concerned or amused. "You're sure it's fine?"

"I'm sure." He accompanies the statement with a thumbs up, because what's more sincere than a thumbs up? Oh that's right- nothing.

Enjolras laughs. Grantaire's pretty sure he's never heard a more beautiful sound. "You're gonna have to let me up eventually." He gestures to Grantaire's legs resting across his thighs and raises an eyebrow. Grantaire blushes and draws his legs back to his chest. Putting the laptop down and peeling himself off of the sofa, Enjolras stretches out like a cat. (Grantaire finds it so adorable that he has to physically look away to stop himself from cooing at Enjolras.)

Grantaire puts their stuff away and turns the TV off before leading Enjolras down the small hallway that is too small to really be considered a hallway, and through the door on the right, into his room.

Grantaire makes a sweeping gesture as they reach his door. "Ta-da!" he says, "Welcome to the humble abode of Grantaire. Please watch your step on any of the shit you may find on the floor. See our insurance policy for further details."

His room is small, boxes and belongings stacked without any proper order make it seem even more cramped. He has a singular bookshelf next to his window on the far wall, and various piles of books that line the walls. In the far corner rests his painting supplies- the unfinished piece from earlier as well as a few others. His bed, unmade with his green quilt thrown haphazardly over the edge, rests in the middle of the room, opposite the window.

Enjolras is looking at none of this, however. His eyes are caught on the wall to the far side of Grantaire's room, the wall Grantaire has decorated with drawings of his friends, les amis. Enjolras walks towards it, and Grantaire almost wants to tell him to stop- the drawings had been a suggestion from Jehan, to paint his walls with whatever made him happy so that he could be surrounded by things that comfort him on his bad days. It feels oddly personal, allowing Enjolras to examine so closely Grantaire's coping methods.

When he looks back up, Enjolras is smiling at him with something like awe. "These are amazing." he breathes.

"They're nothing special."

"Grantaire, I may not know much about art, but these are honestly so... I can't even describe them. They're amazing." And the thing is, he sounds like he actually believes it, which, okay, Enjolras doesn't know much about art, he said so himself, but if he wants to praise Grantaire's work- well. Grantaire may feel like he doesn't deserve it, but he's not going to tell Enjolras to stop.

"You're just saying that because your face is one of them." Grantaire teases, his heart beating wildly. Enjolras is depicted not in all his righteous fury, as Grantaire so often paints him, but in calm appreciation instead. Grantaire had stolen the expression he'd painted Enjolras with from the one night at the Musain, when Enjolras had simply sat in the back and smiled quietly as he listened to his friends around him.

Enjolras reaches out towards the painting as if to touch it, but stops himself, pulling his hand back. He stays there for a long minute, just admiring Grantaire's work.

Once he's done, Enjolras takes three quick strides to where Grantaire is standing and wastes no time in capturing Grantaire's lips in a kiss. It's more forceful than Enjolras usually goes for- Grantaire is extremely aware of the pressure of Enjolras' mouth upon his- but it's not like Grantaire's complaining. After all, he kisses back with just as much vigour, if not more.

Kissing Enjolras will always be one of his favourite activities, Grantaire thinks absently.

Enjolras has a hand tangled in Grantaire's dark curls, another resting on the side of his neck as he deepens their kiss. Grantaire's own hands are resting on Enjolras' hips, where he rubs circles into the soft fabric of Enjolras' shirt with his thumbs.

Enjolras maneuvers them backwards and Grantaire tries not to yelp when his legs unexpectedly hit the back of the bed. He follows the movement down, pulling Enjolras with him until they're both sat against the headboard.

And this is- this is nice. It's not that him and Enjolras have never made out before, just that it's a rare occurrence. Sometimes Enjolras' rigid work schedule doesn't allow any time for making out, and sometimes his dysphoria is bad enough that being physically touched anywhere only serves to make him anxious.

They end up kissing for a while longer before Grantaire makes the leap to start trailing kisses along Enjolras' jaw and down the soft skin of his neck. Grantaire wonders if he's pushing too far, but he knows Enjolras would stop him in a heartbeat if he were uncomfortable, so he rests pretty assured in the knowledge that Enjolras has no problem with the almost-bruises Grantaire leaves along his throat.

Slowly, Grantaire kisses his way back up to Enjolras' mouth, kissing him softly on the lips before drawing back. Enjolras hums in contentment and smiles dazedly up at Grantaire when they pull apart.

Content to simply cuddle for a while longer, it's a short time later until Enjolras asks if he can borrow one of Grantaire's shirts, "Because Combeferre lectured me for half an hour the last time I fell asleep in my binder."

The mention of his best friend leaves Enjolras looking sad again, so Grantaire leans over and kisses his forehead in an attempt to comfort him. Enjolras closes his eyes as Grantaire's lips touch his skin, the worry gone from his face when Grantaire pulls back.

"Any preference of shirt?" Grantaire asks, swinging his legs over the side of the bed to hunt for a shirt appropriate for Enjolras to wear.

"As baggy as possible, please."

Grantaire chuckles, "Enj, any one of my shirts would be baggy on you."

Once Grantaire has found the baggiest and most comfortable shirt he owns, he tosses it in Enjolras' direction; Enjolras catches it with surprising skill and smiles gratefully at Grantaire as he leaves to change.

Grantaire uses the time alone to text Combeferre.


You [8:47pm]: enj is staying over @ my place. didn't want u to worry. he says u guys had a fight? not trying to interfere just wanna make sure ur ok

mothman [8:53 pm]: I'm fine, I'm with courf, it was nice of you to ask. how's enj doing? thanks for being there with him, things got a little intense for a while and I think we both said a few things we regret. I'm still pretty mad at the minute but please let him know I'll be willing to talk as soon as he's ready. thanks again r, sleep well x

You [9:33pm]: he's ok !! a lil rough @ first but he's doing fine now (he's rly sorry tho i'll let him tell u that in person) u too !! x (also hi courf ik ur reading this over ferre's shoulder)

mothman [9:34pm]: YOU KNOW ME TOO WELL R -courf


Enjolras re-enters the room, Grantaire's shirt practically smothering his small frame. He's wearing his hair down, pulled out of it's usual bun and hanging just above his shoulders. He's also clad in only his boxer shorts beneath the shirt, which Grantaire definitely does not notice, nope, no way.

Climbing into bed besides Grantaire, Enjolras rests his head on Grantaire's shoulder as Grantaire wraps an arm around him. "This okay?" Grantaire asks as Enjolras cuddles closer; he's never actually touched Enjolras when Enjolras isn't wearing his binder before and he doesn't want to push.

"This is nice." Enjolras assures him, pressing his lips to Grantaire's neck. Grantaire can feel Enjolras' breath on his skin, and Enjolras really must've been tired, because within minutes his breathing becomes deeper, his body more relaxed.

It's not the most comfortable arrangement- sharing a bed for the first time never is, but Grantaire doesn't mind. He's here with Enjolras, and in the end, that's all that really matters.