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chiaroscuro

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He stumbles in sometime around two, key scraping the lock before he figures out the door's open. Enjolras listens to him struggle, closing his eyes when Grantaire finally manages to get inside, wallet and phone clattering onto the counter. He pretends to be asleep; he can't deal with this right now - he's only human, whatever Grantaire may say. He's not a statue. He's not a god. And he feels things, even when he wishes he didn't.

He almost hopes Grantaire will wake him up. It would force him to figure this out - force both of them to figure this out - but Grantaire walks right past him and heads to the bedroom. The door shuts. The room is still once more. Enjolras turns his face into the couch and squeezes his eyes shut as tight as they will go. 

He doesn't cry, not necessarily, but he thinks he should, and the idea upsets him more than he can articulate.

He must fall asleep at some point, because when he opens his eyes, the room is a little lighter. At first he's not quite sure why he's awake - not just awake, he's alert, his entire body is thrumming with awareness - but then he hears Grantaire groan, and he nearly falls flat on his face in his haste to scramble off the couch, his legs tangling in the blanket.

He throws open the bathroom door just as Grantaire heaves again, his forearms braced against the rim of the toilet.

He's not good at this part. Words don't come so easily to him without a pulpit and a raised fist, and Grantaire is a different passion for him, difficult to express, especially in these moments. He never feels so useless as he does now, when Grantaire is curled up on the floor and Enjolras can feel the panic shooting up his spine.

He rubs Grantaire's back - that much he can do - and waits it out. Eventually, Grantaire tilts to the side, head lolled back against the rim of the tub.

"'Jolras." He huffs a laugh, or something close to it. "Fuck." 

Enjolras flushes the toilet, unable to disguise his disgust completely, and Grantaire laughs again, sweaty curls plastered to his forehead.

"Gotta get your rest, 'Jolras, don't bother with me." He winces, shifting slightly. Heart thudding heavily in his chest, Enjolras dampens a washcloth and wipes at his neck. A hand, hot and calloused, closes around his wrist. "Don't bother with me," Grantaire says, eyes glittering oddly. It's mesmerizing. "Don't fucking bother with me." He swats Enjolras' hands away, petulant as a child, but Enjolras has never been known for his ability to back off.

"Stop that," he orders. "Don't move." Grantaire only closes his eyes, shakes his head.

"Fuck you and your fucking savior complex," he mumbles darkly. Enjolras' eyes narrow, and he presses the cloth to Grantaire's forehead, only to have the other man turn his head, mouth twisted. "Go away," he whispers. 

"Grantaire."

"Go away."

"Hold still."

"Please, Enjolras, just leave me alone…" He continues in this vein while Enjolras waits for him to get it out of his system. It's when he covers his face and begins to cry that Enjolras sets the washcloth aside to peel away his hands.

"Stop that," he repeats, not as sharply this time. "Look at me, Grantaire. Please."

Saying please has a remarkable effect on Grantaire; Enjolras doesn't quite understand it, but he'll use it, he'll use it every time.

"I exhaust you," Grantaire says in a cracked voice, and he's not slurring anymore. Something in Enjolras' chest breaks, and the pieces jostle with every breath he takes. 

(He does. He does exhaust him.)

"Shh," he replies, because he doesn't know what else to say. Grantaire closes his eyes, tipping his head back, and Enjolras crawls into his lap carefully, knees bracketing the other man's hips and nose pressed to his Adam's apple.

"'Jolras," Grantaire starts again, quiet, the sound vibrating in his chest so Enjolras feels it, but he shakes his head, and Grantaire, for once, falls silent. His arms stay by his side, limp and palm up on the tiles. Enjolras sits back to study him, but Grantaire won't look at him, won't acknowledge him. He's shut down completely, again, and Enjolras doesn't know what to do.

"Let's get you to bed," is what he decides on, and it's a long and painful process getting Grantaire off the floor and into their bedroom, but he manages it (and he coaxes him into a little mouthwash, too, so tonight is a good night). He tugs Grantaire up so that he can press his cheek into his dark, messy curls, and Grantaire doesn't fight it, though he stares into the air, subdued and gone to that place where Enjolras cannot follow. He tries to anchor him, wraps his arms around Grantaire tightly and grits his teeth and stays awake even though every blink is a tiny, fierce battle for consciousness. When the room starts to lighten, Grantaire is passed out and snoring softly, clammy but sleeping, and then and only then does Enjolras allow himself to let his eyes slip closed.

When he comes to, Grantaire is watching him. Sunlight has flooded the room - it's got to be at least eleven o'clock, and Enjolras jolts awake, grimacing.

"It's Saturday," Grantaire reminds him. Enjolras settles again, running a hand through his hair.

"Thank God." 

They're quiet for a long moment. Grantaire plucks at the sheets almost compulsively, and it takes Enjolras physically touching his hands to stop him.

"I'm sorry." 

"Okay," Enjolras says, because there's not much else to say. Grantaire makes a face, eyes locked on the ceiling. 

"I don't - "

With a practiced ease, Enjolras leans over him and presses his mouth to his. It's a tried and true method of getting Grantaire to shut up, and he can feel the exact moment when the other man gives in. 

"You bastard. That's not fair," he mutters when Enjolras pulls away, panting a little. He surges after him, hands running down Enjolras' sides, slipping into his boxers, and Enjolras groans as he takes him in hand.

"Not playing fair either," he manages, and then he lets his head fall back, unable to do much else but watch Grantaire through half-lidded eyes as the other man drags his pajama bottoms down with his boxers and settles between his legs. He grips Grantaire's curls tightly, breathing hard through his nose, occasionally letting out little noises because Grantaire likes that, he likes to see him a little undone, but Enjolras can never do anything by half, and a little undone quickly becomes a desperate, restless shift of his hips as he struggles not to buck into his mouth. 

(His fingers have to be painful, snared as they are in Grantaire's hair - his scalp must be aching, but Grantaire takes it without complaint, as he always does) 

"Jesus fucking Christ…ah, God, Grantaire, fuck, fuck - " 

Grantaire groans around him, and Enjolras has time only to give his hair a warning tug before he's gasping, entire body shaking with the aftershocks.

Grantaire rests his cheek against his stomach once the shudders have died down, lips bright red and eyes blown wide with something unsettlingly like adoration. 

"You are so - Enjolras you're - "

Enjolras tugs him up and flips them both over.

"I love you," he pants fiercely, forehead pressed to Grantaire's as the other man rises to meet him. "You fucking moron, I love you, I love you - "

- and he's still shaking and frustrated but mostly frightened, throat tight with a sudden and utterly unfamiliar terror that he can't explain simply because it's too big, it's too present, it's everywhere, but mostly here, in this tiny apartment, where he should feel safest, where Grantaire should feel safest, and he doesn't know how to do that sometimes, this - whatever this is, whatever this becomes - 

Grantaire stills, dropping his head into the crook of Enjolras' neck, and they lay there for a moment, a tangle of limbs and sweat and uneven breaths and something unresolved.

"'M not moving," Grantaire says eventually, muffled into Enjolras' skin. Enjolras huffs half-heartedly, but waits five minutes or so before easing himself out from under Grantaire and going to brush his teeth. He comes back to find Grantaire asleep again, sprawled over the bed and sheets, and he thinks he gets why Grantaire goes on and on about chiaroscuro, the light and the dark, because there's an art to Grantaire just as he is now - he can't explain it.

He stays there a long while, deep in thought, before giving up on putting it into words and simply joining him.