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Grantaire has his head on his desk, his arms making a nice dark little cave around him while he tries to nap before the start of health class, when Éponine drops down into the desk next to him with the thud of her backpack on the floor. "What are we covering today?" she asks him.

He lifts his head from his arms and frowns at her, squinting against the bright lights of the classroom. "Do I seem like the sort to memorize the syllabus?"

"No." She kicks her feet up onto the back of the chair in front of her, which is still empty. "But you are the sort to review the material ahead of time so you can fuck off in class and still have a half-assed answer ready should the teacher call on you."

"Lamarque's not going to call on me. I've still got a decent grade here. I've got until at least the end of the month before it drops off enough for him to get concerned."

Five rows ahead of him and two seats to the left, Enjolras's back straightens, his head lifting and his shoulders gone tense. Enjolras lost the right to be worried about Grantaire's grades two weeks ago.

And anyway, if he doesn't like that Grantaire's grades are dropping, he's got only himself to blame. Health was one of the few classes Grantaire was actually doing all right in, and that was mostly because it's one of the few classes he shared with Enjolras. Enjolras always sits up front, always is engaged with the class material, always asks questions and takes notes and then cajoles Grantaire being into his study buddy, and it's hard not to pick up at least a few facts and figures, when you're sitting right next to that sort of an academic hurricane.

But two weeks ago Enjolras dumped him -- again, Grantaire would figure that eventually it would stop hurting except that this time is definitely, definitely the last time, Enjolras made that pretty damn clear in the middle of their screaming break-up fight -- and now Grantaire's sitting as far away from him as he can get while still actually being in the classroom, and so really, he's got no one to blame for Grantaire's declining grades but himself. He really couldn't have thought that Grantaire was studying for any reason but because of him, could he?

Éponine snorts, pulling Grantaire's attention back to her. "So," she says pointedly, leaning in. "What are we covering today?"

Grantaire sighs heavily and drops his head down onto the desk again. "Life planning, whatever that means," he says into his arms. "Also, I hate you."

"You love me," she says, blithely confident, and shifts her weight on her chair to pull her phone out from her pocket while they wait for class to start.

"I am reconsidering my stance," Grantaire grumbles, and then Lamarque is standing up in front of the class and clearing his throat. His gaze goes straight to Éponine, but her phone has already vanished. She sits with her hands folded on her desk and a smile fixed on her face, the picture of innocence.

"Good morning class," Lamarque says once he has everyone's attention. "Today we are beginning our life planning unit."

Éponine kicks Grantaire under the desk as though to say See? What did I tell you, but he ignores her entirely. She's just going to be smug about it for the rest of the day, and that's really the last thing that he needs.

Lamarque continues, but Grantaire mostly tunes him out. He's saying something about teaching them things they're going to need to know in their everyday lives, which is a crock of shit anyway. School teaches you how to write essays and pass tests, but it doesn't teach you how to live in the world. When's he ever going to need to know the date the Magna Carta was signed, or how many molecules are in a mole?

He only starts paying attention when Éponine raises her hand, waits to be called on, and then says, "So do you mean you're going to teach us how to balance a checkbook or something? Does anyone even still use checks, anyway?"

"I have it on good authority that they do," Lamarque says, droll. "But no. The scope of this unit is going to go well beyond checkbooks. To start with, we'll be working on budgeting. Not just balancing your checkbook, but balancing your entire income stream."

"Well that's easy enough," Grantaire says in an undertone to Éponine. "I'm doomed to be an unemployed bum anyway. How hard can it be to balance a budget of zero?"

Lamarque gives him a sharp look, but doesn't take the bait. He continues to speak to the class at large, even when his gaze lingers on Grantaire. "To make the scenario more realistic, as well as more challenging, we'll be doing this as a pairs project. You'll be balancing a budget for your family, not just yourself."

Grantaire really starts paying attention when Lamarque reaches down beneath his desk and lifts up an unopened bag of flour and sets in on his desk. "Well, that's heteronormative," he says, even as groans of protest or exclamations of excitement go up around the classroom.

At the front of the class, Enjolras goes stiff. With surprise, Grantaire thinks. He couldn't possibly take issue with Grantaire protesting heteronormativity, could he? Even if Grantaire is mostly just doing it for the sake of protesting. Still, these days, it seems like Enjolras is primed to take issue with anything that comes out of Grantaire's mouth, no matter what the subject.

Lamarque holds Grantaire's eye, this time, and speaks to him directly as he says, "I've already chosen partners for each of you, and the pairs span the range of sexual orientations. Everyone's going to need to know how to plan a family budget, no matter the gender of the person they may end up marrying."

"You're normalizing child-bearing," Enjolras interrupts, slapping his binder shut. "Not everyone wants to have have children, and we shouldn't be forced to for the sake of your lesson plan."

"The point of the exercise," Lamarque says evenly, "is to be able to plan a budget that can accommodate unexpected expenses. Everyone experiences these, whether they have children or not, and it's an essential skill." Enjolras starts to protest again, but Lamarque lifts his voice above him, continuing pointedly, "Partners are free to decide together whether they'd like to take on the responsibility of a child. Any who don't will be given alternative budgeting challenges."

Enjolras snaps his mouth shut and settles down, mollified but grumbling about it, audible even from where Grantaire sits in the back of the classroom. Lamarque gives the class a moment to see if anyone else has any objections to raise, and when none are forthcoming, he nods once and returns to his desk. "Good. I'll announce the partners, then. First up, Combeferre, you'll be paired with Éponine."

Beside Grantaire, Éponine groans and thunks her forehead on her desk. "Can I file for divorce?" she asks, muffled against the desktop. Grantaire's pretty sure she'd have posed the question no matter who she was paired with. She's never really been a group project sort of girl.

"We're going for realism here so that is, of course, an option," Lamarque says easily, like he was already prepared for the question. "If you choose to dissolve your union, I'd be happy to give you some information about the costs of obtaining divorce, so you can plan accordingly. You'll have to figure out how to make your budget accommodate such an expense, though. Lawyers aren't cheap, of course."

"Oh fuck," Éponine groans again. "Fine, forget it. We'll remain in a loveless marriage for the tax benefits, or whatever."

Lamarque nods acceptance and continues listing off names. "Grantaire," he says, towards the end of the list, and Grantaire buries his head deeper in his arms because he knows what's coming. It has to be. The universe hates him too much not to pass up on such a glorious opportunity to fuck with him. "You're with Enjolras."

Lamarque continues on with the rest of the list, but Grantaire doesn't listen. He just curls his arms over his head as he feels the room go very cold and very quiet around him. Enjolras. Of fucking course.

Maybe Lamarque thought he was being kind, pairing them up for the project. Maybe he'd picked up on the fact, over the months of class they've had, that they were close. That they liked each other. Maybe he figured he was making things easy on them.

Maybe he hadn't realized that all that had changed over the past weeks, that Grantaire had retreated to the back of the class, that he and Enjolras never talked anymore and certainly never worked together anymore. Maybe Lamarque was just really, incredibly obtuse.

Or maybe he wants to fuck with Grantaire just as much as the universe does. Grantaire can't even blame him, if he does. It seems to be a popular pastime.

He waits for Enjolras to protest, certain he will. But Enjolras is very, conspicuously silent, and when Lamarque finishes pairing everyone off and Enjolras still hasn't interjected to demand a more suitable partner, Grantaire lifts his head from his arms to give Enjolras's back a bewildered look.

Lamarque takes up a stack of papers from his desk and starts distributing them amongst the students in the first row, instructing them to take a copy and pass them back to the students behind them. "Here are the instructions for your budgets," he says. "Everyone, get together with your partners and look over the assignment, and decide together whether you'll be taking on the responsibility of child-rearing together. You have until next class to inform me of your decisions."

Everyone gets up from their desks and starts shuffling around, finding their partners. Everyone but Grantaire, who groans and thunks his head on the desk repeatedly.

Éponine pats his arm. It feels patronizing. "Buck up, kiddo," she says. "Your husband's on his way over."

"Do you think Lamarque has figures prepared for the cost of hiring a defense lawyer?" he asks his desktop. "Do you think they cost more or less than divorce lawyers?"

"What crime do you intend to commit?" That's Enjolras, not Éponine. Grantaire stays as he is a moment, taking in a deep, careful breath, before he lifts his head. Enjolras has his backpack over one arm and his binder in his arms and an uncertain but determined expression on his face.

It would probably be a bad idea to start their union by answering him truthfully, considering the honest answer is homicide. He straightens up and leans back in his chair instead, kicks his feet up onto the back of the chair ahead of him, which has been vacated as everyone clusters together in pairs. "Hard to say," he says breezily, or as close as he can manage to breezily. Éponine would probably tell him that he missed the mark by a mile, but Éponine is off eyeing her new husband mistrustfully, so she doesn't get a say. "I should probably just keep one on retainer."

"Well." The corner of Enjolras's mouth turns up, a slight, hesitant smile. "I suppose it's good spouses can't be made to testify against one another, isn't it?" He sits down in Éponine's abandoned chair and lays Lamarque's assignment on the desk, then spreads his hand wide across it. "Grantaire, look--"

"Oh, please don't."

Enjolras breaks off, startled, then frowns at him. "What?"

"Don't-- Don't patronize me, Christ. I can do a stupid assignment with you, it's not a big deal. Can you stop looking at me like you think this of all things is going to break me, and just tell me whether you want to do the flour baby thing or not?"

Enjolras gives him a long look. "We're supposed to decide on that together."

"It's just a stupid assignment. I honestly couldn't care less, so just pick."

Enjolras is quiet for another long moment. "We have until Thursday to decide," he says at last, pulling out his notebook and a pen from his backpack. "We can come to a consensus by then."

Of course Enjolras is going to be annoyingly earnest about all of this. It's just Grantaire's luck. He's not the sort to phone in an assignment, and he's not the sort to allow Grantaire to phone it in and do the heavy lifting in his own right, even though they both know he cares a hell of a lot more about making sure things are done right than Grantaire does, and they'd both be happier that way.

"If we have a baby," Grantaire says, just to be a shit, and because if Enjolras isn't going to make it easy for him then Grantaire isn't going to return the favor, "I'm naming it Robespierre."

Enjolras lifts his head from the notes he's making and stares at Grantaire. "No."

Grantaire just grins. "Actually, now that you mention it, I think I might like being a dad. How hard can it be?"

Enjolras, to Grantaire's immense delight, looks horrified.

#

"We choose to have a child," Enjolras announces to Lamarque in class on Thursday, stiff and looking rather like he'd swallowed a lemon, because once Grantaire seized upon the idea of Robespierre and witnessed how quickly and easily it worked its way under his skin, he abandoned his ambivalence about the decision. Enjolras had protested for two days, and then given up minutes before class, thrown his hands in the air, and snapped, "Fine, if you have such a burning desire for fatherhood, then who am I to stand in your way? Maybe you'll actually learn something from it."

Now, Lamarque gives him a searching look, no doubt weighing Enjolras's words against the expression that is completely at odds with them. But after a moment he just nods, notes their decision down, and hands them a sack of flour from the small mountain of them behind his desk. He also hands Enjolras two sheafs of paper, stapled together. "Here's the breakdown of the cost of your decision. I expect you to come up with a budget for every stage of the child's life, infancy through college."

"Yes, sir," Enjolras says, and brings everything back to his and Grantaire's desks. Everyone's seats have been rearranged for the duration of the assignment so that partners can sit beside one another. Enjolras is stuck in the back with Grantaire now, and Grantaire thinks it's a toss-up which of them is more annoyed by it.

"I'll take the first watch of Robespierre," Grantaire says, and reaches out to take the bag of flour from Enjolras's arms.

"It is not named Robespierre," Enjolras snaps. But as Grantaire hefts the flour baby up onto his desk and pulls out a sharpie to start drawing a face on it, he can tell that Enjolras is giving him a long, thoughtful look that he probably thinks Grantaire is too preoccupied to notice.

He's probably reading this volunteerism as some sort of academic impulse. He always was inclined to give Grantaire more of the benefit of the doubt than he deserves. The truth is, keeping an inert sack of flour out of trouble for a few hours is the sort of breezy, no-effort assignment that Grantaire was born for. He'd offer to just keep Robespierre for the duration of the assignment if he thought that meant Enjolras would do the much more onerous work of the budget all by himself. And that he wouldn't also start quoting statistics about broken homes or something equally ridiculous.

"Why don't you look over that budget information Lamarque just gave us," Grantaire recommends as he fishes a highlighter out of his bag and uses it to draw hair in on Robespierre's head. Yellow like Enjolras's hair, and curly like Grantaire's.

"Sorry, kiddo," he tells it, turning it onto its side and considering how to draw ears when the barcode's right in his way, and placing them anywhere else will make Robespierre look like a Picasso painting. "Curly hair's the pits. I never promised I had anything of value to give you, though. I guess you'll have to ask your other dad whether blonds really do have more fun."

The sound of rustling papers from Enjolras next to him pauses, and Enjolras huffs out a sharp breath of air. Grantaire grabs a green highlighter and starts to give the kid a dinosaur onesie while he waits for Enjolras to say whatever it is that's on his mind. But a moment passes and the papers resume rustling, and so Grantaire just shrugs and sets himself to drawing the most badass stegosaurus he can across Robespierre's chest.

#

It's not long before Enjolras insists on trading off responsibilities. He practically grabs Robespierre from Grantaire's arms, he's so adamant, and when he starts quoting statistics about the children of broken homes, Grantaire groans and gives in.

"While I watch Pierre," Enjolras says (he's stopped protesting every time Grantaire calls him Robespierre, worn down, but he still refuses to use the name himself; Grantaire probably deserves a reward for resisting the urge to comment upon his denial), "why don't you take a look at the requirements of our budget and start putting some numbers together."

Numbers. Christ. Grantaire would rather give himself an appendectomy with a dull spoon. He stretches out on his back on the planter where Enjolras had found him sitting and lays the budget papers over his face to shield his eyes from the sun. "I thought you were going to handle all that. You're definitely the numbers guy, between the two of us."

Enjolras's silence is lengthy and heavy with disapproval. "This is a group project, R." Oh lord, it only ever means bad things when Enjolras calls him that. Bad things, or very good things, but Grantaire gave up all hope to good things from Enjolras back during that screaming fight that ended their relationship for good. "I'm not going to do the work all by myself, not even for you."

"Excuse me," Grantaire protests, overdramatic. "Just because I don't deal with numbers all day doesn't mean that the time and effort I put into homemaking and childrearing is any less work than yours is."

Enjolras is that sort of quiet he gets when he's gearing up for a fight, like a volcano building up pressure just before it erupts. Grantaire doesn't even have to look at him to know it anymore, he can tell just by the strange, electric quality to the silence.

He grimaces beneath his papers, bracing for Enjolras to scream. But he doesn't raise his voice, he just says, very controlled and very precise, "Would you like me to tell Éponine that you're co-opting the legitimate struggles of women in order to justify your own laziness?"

Shit. Éponine is scary as fuck when she wants to be, but she's usually the sort of scary that Grantaire gets to witness deployed in his defense, not aimed directly at him. He's never introducing any more boy- or girlfriends to his friends, not if they're just going to dump him and then use his own friends against him.

"Éponine would tell you that your assumption that homemaking and childrearing are the pursuits of women alone is just as problematic as anything I said." He's not actually certain of that at all, but he doesn't think Enjolras is going to call his bluff, not on this.

"Work on the budget, Grantaire," Enjolras says, his voice uncompromising, and when Grantaire slides the papers off his face and sits up, Enjolras has left, and taken Robespierre with him.

#

Enjolras looks startled when Grantaire slaps a thin binder down on his desk and says, "There, that's my half of the budget, you can get off my case now," which Grantaire thinks is completely undeserved. He was getting good grades in the class, after all, up until a few weeks ago. It's not like Enjolras doesn't know he's capable of it.

"Thank you," Enjolras says, just that, and it's a testament to just how badly Grantaire has surprised him that he doesn't have anything else to say. No acerbic comments, no backhanded compliments, just pure, unvarnished gratitude.

Grantaire grunts and drops down into his own chair. "Christ, pick your jaw up off the ground. It's some stupid homework, not the holy grail."

Enjolras snaps his mouth shut, but keeps watching him like he's not sure what to make of him.

That's fine by Grantaire. This is the best he's gotten along with Enjolras in weeks.

#

It lasts until lunch. Grantaire's sitting with Éponine, picking mushrooms off of his cafeteria pizza, when Enjolras comes stomping up out of the blood, red-faced and looking fit to be tied. "I know you don't actually give a shit," he says, his voice shaking with anger, "but I do. You want to let your grades go to shit, fine, that's your prerogative, but don't drag mine down with you." He shoves the binder back into Grantaire's hands before Grantaire can do more than blink at him, hisses, "This isn't a game, R. I don't appreciate you treating it like one."

"I honestly have no idea what you're talking about," Grantaire says, and adds another mushroom to the little pile on the side of his plate. Éponine reaches over while he's distracted and steals a few, which is fine. He's just going to give them to her when he's finished, anyway. But she always steals them, every time. She says they taste better when they're ill-gotten gains. "I did the stupid assignment. Wasn't that the point? I do mine and you do yours and then we compare notes and figure out where we need to compromise?" It had seemed the smarter choice at the time, even if it is the choice that requires more work from Grantaire. But it seemed a small sacrifice to make, when the alternative was sitting down with Enjolras and spending hours hashing out every single stupid point of their budget.

"You want to spend a quarter of your salary on wine?" Enjolras forces out between his teeth. "You can't tell me that's a serious number, R, you can't."

Éponine, flush with the victory of her mushroom theft, tries for one of Grantaire's slices of pepperoni. He stabs at her with his fork, but most of his attention is on Enjolras and she knows it, the wily devil. "I have it on very good authority," he says, "that grown-ups fucking love wine."

Enjolras balls his hands into fists at his sides and breathes hard through his nose. "Be serious, R."

"That is so much less fun than the alternative."

"Do you think so? Because I'm willing to bet that if we submit this to Lamarque he's going to make us re-do our budget to incorporate the cost of rehab, and I swear to you if that happens I am making you do it entirely by yourself." He smacks a hand down on top of the binder and leans in until Grantaire really has no choice but to meet his eye. "Do you want to do that? Do you want to spend more time on this assignment than we have to?"

It's the we that gets his attention, because Grantaire might be willing to take on a little extra work for the sake of taking a stand and making his opinion about this assignment known, but willingly subjecting himself to more time in forced proximity to Enjolras is another thing entirely. He sighs and curls his fingers around Enjolras's wrist so he can slide his hand off of the binder.

"Fine," Grantaire says, quiet, defeated. "Look, just. Tell me when's a good time to come over after school this week, and we'll sit down and hash it out. Get the whole thing into shape in one fell swoop and then you don't have to deal with me anymore, right?"

Enjolras blinks quickly at him, then down at his hand. He rubs at his wrist almost absently, right where Grantaire had had hold of it. "There's still Robespierre," he says quietly.

Grantaire sighs shoves his plate, pizza and all, into the middle of the table. Éponine crows in victory and takes it for her own while he lays his head down on the table and sighs. He doesn't even have it in him to rib Enjolras for calling the baby by the name he hates. "Well, we can sort that out, too."

The bell rings as Enjolras is opening his mouth, his brows furrowed. Grantaire has never in his life been so glad to be summoned back to class.

#

Tragedy strikes before the week is out, and Grantaire is there to see it happen.

He's sitting outside his first class, and he actually woke up early and got here well before school starts, despite his moral objections to the very idea of it, so that he can review Enjolras's version of their budget because if Enjolras expects him to have a goddamned debate about this, then he's at least going to come prepared to duke it out.

Mostly, Enjolras's budget is really, really boring, though Grantaire supposes that comes with the territory. It is, occasionally, hilarious, and every so often he comes across something for which he has no choice but to groan and headdesk over it. He doesn't have an actual desk out here, but faceplanting in Enjolras's binder and muffling his screams into the pages will do as an alternative.

That's when the tragedy strikes. He's mid-scream when someone else's drowns out his own, high and sharp and alarmed, and almost immediately followed by a dull thud that turns the scream into a cry of dismay.

Grantaire lifts his head from Enjolras's binder to find the stairway before him and the whole stretch of walkway to either side suddenly turned white, like they've been struck with a freak, localized snowstorm. He's got it on the toes of his shoes, too, and the shins of his jeans, and the back of Enjolras's binder. He doesn't have it all over his face, thank god, for which he supposes he has Enjolras and his ridiculous budget to thank.

He shuts the binder, leaves it with his backpack against the wall, and comes out from under the overhang of the second floor walkway to crane his head back and peer up.

Bossuet, Joly, and Musichetta are all hanging over the railing looking down, their eyes gone wide and horrified. Bossuet has his hands over his mouth, and it doesn't take much of a leap to guess what happened.

"Bossuet," Grantaire calls up, dusting off his shirt and his jeans as best he can, which mostly just results in smearing everything around and getting it ground in even deeper. "Did you just explode your baby all over me?"

"Oh my god," Musichetta says, and covers her mouth with her hands as well, though Grantaire suspects she's trying to hold back laughter. "R, we are so sorry."

They come down the stairs together, Musichetta and Joly ushering Bossuet along between them. "We are so going to fail," Joly says mournfully, looking at the remains of their flour baby spread all over the school walkway. "What do you think the effects on our budget is going to be if we're all put away for child endangerment and negligent homicide? Do prisoners have expenses? Are we going to have to render our budget in cigarettes instead of dollars?" Joly chews on his lip as they all stand in a loose circle, looking down at the torn remains of the flour bag. "Or is that only a thing in the movies? I don't think I'm equipped for prison, guys."

Musichetta pats him on the shoulder and says reassuringly, "Don't worry, I'll protect you."

"No, no," Bossuet protests, still standing with his head bowed in mourning over their lost child. "It was my fault, really. I'll take the fall. We shouldn't all have to go to prison."

Musichetta and Joly both look at one another. They seem even more horrified by the idea of Bossuet in jail alone than they do by the demise of their flour child.

"You could buy a new baby," Grantaire suggests. "They're like three bucks down at the grocery store."

"R," Bossuet wails. "There is exploded baby all over the school, I think someone's going to notice."

"Yeah, but if your baby is, to all appearances, still safe and sound, then it'll throw them off your trail. And if anyone suspects, I'll be your alibi." Grantaire lays one hand over his heart and lifts the other like he's swearing an oath.

"R," Joly says, staring at Grantaire like he's an angel descended from heaven right there in front of them. "You are the very best friend."

"I am," Grantaire agrees solemnly. "Now let's get the evidence cleaned up before people start showing up for class."

#

Nobody goes to jail, not even fake jail for the fake death of their fake child, but Bossuet's so jumpy in class that he nearly ruins the whole thing. He doesn't settle until Musichetta leans in from one side to whisper something in his ear, and Joly leans in from the other and kisses his cheek, and then his cheeks go pink and he stops drumming his fingers on his desk, though maybe that last is only because he tucked his hands into his lap, where the drumming would be quieter.

Grantaire is staring off into space, halfway through constructing a really good, ironclad alibi just in case Lamarque grows suspicious and it becomes necessary, and so he scarcely notices when Enjolras takes his seat beside him until Enjolras clears his throat pointedly and kicks at the leg of Grantaire's chair.

Grantaire straightens up with a start, the frowns at Enjolras. "What is it?"

Enjolras gives a heavy sigh, like this is all somehow incredibly trying. "You can come over tonight, to talk about the budget. My parents won't be home until late, so we--" Grantaire is pretty sure Enjolras means to end that sentence, so we won't have to explain to them why you're still coming around even though I dumped you, but he swallows it down and seems to think better of it. He clears his throat and finishes, "so we can work undisturbed."

Grantaire lets out a humorless laugh. "When I told you to tell me when would work for you, I didn't exactly mean the morning of. I've got plans, Enjolras. I've got shit to do, and I'm not going to reschedule my life just because you're unfamiliar with the concept of advanced warning."

Enjolras's brow furrows and his lip curls, not enough that Grantaire thinks it's a conscious gesture, but still just enough to piss Grantaire off. "What sorts of big plans do you have for your evening, then? Ignoring your homework and procrastinating on your reading?"

"Hey, fuck you." Grantaire gives him a weaponized smile. "You want to get together tomorrow, fine, we'll work it out. But I've got plans and I'm not going to change them just because you assumed I'd be available at your beck and call." It's not true, or at least, he doesn't have any plans beyond playing video games and talking to Éponine. But it's a matter of principle, and even if they're stupid plans, they're still plans and Enjolras still doesn't have the right to expect him to change them at the last minute for him.

Enjolras exhales sharply, his gaze cutting to the side and his expression going tight and conflicted. "Tomorrow's not ideal. My parents--"

"Well, you're just going to have to explain the situation to them, aren't you?" Grantaire flips the cover of his book shut, hard enough that it makes Enjolras jump a little. "Don't tell me they still think we're together."

"No, it's--" Enjolras gives another sharp sigh. "No, they know. It'd be easier if they didn't. They wouldn't think it was strange that I brought you over, if they didn't."

"Just tell them the truth," Grantaire says, exasperated. There's a moment where something that looks like panic flashes across Enjolras's face, and he has no idea what to make of that, so he does what he's best at, he ignores it and pretends he noticed nothing. He shrugs, continues, "Tell them it's a stupid assignment and we were partnered together unwillingly and that it's only going to make the whole thing more awkward and more difficult if they're weird about it."

Enjolras huffs a sound that's not that same, irritated sigh, but not quite a laugh, either. "That's easier said than done."

"Yeah, well." The bell's about to ring. Grantaire shoves his book and his binder into his backpack and slings it over his shoulder, poised to flee just as soon as it does. "They're your parents, Enjolras. Figure it out."

#

The next day, Enjolras doesn't look at Grantaire as they both take their seats beside one another in Lamarque's class. Grantaire watches him sidelong for the last few minutes of passing period, waiting for something, but Enjolras has his shoulders hunched and his head down, absorbed in his reading, Robespierre situated on the edge of the desk like a barrier between them. Grantaire might as well not exist.

Lamarque's lesson plans have moved on by now, his expectation that they're all working on their projects together outside of class. Normally Grantaire would prefer the in-class time to work together, because it mostly means it's in-class time to fuck off and let his attention wander. But for once, he's grateful. Whatever sort of mood Enjolras is in -- is still in, apparently, because Grantaire had the nerve to not jump the moment Enjolras asked it of him -- Grantaire doesn't want to deal with it. He pulls out his books and his binders, sets them up in a semblance of studiousness while Lamarque begins his lecture at the front of the room, and spends the class filling the margins of his pages with a marching line of dinosaur friends for the stegosaurus on Robespierre's onesie. When that gets boring, he starts filling in the spaces around them with a tangle of plants, large, broad-leafed ferns like you always see in depictions of dinosaurs stomping through the jungle, and big, blooming tropical flowers to go along with it.

It's a mercy when the bell rings and class ends. Everyone starts putting away their things and grabbing up their bags, and Grantaire takes his time about it, giving Enjolras a chance to leave so they don't have to deal with the awkwardness of walking out together. But when he finishes fiddling with his zippers, the class nearly emptied, only the first few students for next period trickling in, he lifts his head and Enjolras is standing there, his bag over one shoulder and his fingers curled tight around the strap.

"You need something?" Grantaire demands, and shoulders past him.

"My mom," Enjolras starts, and Grantaire stops mid-stride. "She-- She said you should stay for dinner."

Grantaire shuts his eyes and is grateful Enjolras is behind him, where he can't see. I can't, he should say. I've got plans. I have an essay to write. My parents will worry if I'm not home. I've got this thing. None of it's true, but they're all convenient excuses. But what he says instead, with a long, weary sigh, is, "I'm not going to do that, Enjolras," and it's too much of the truth.

Enjolras's feet stomp across the floor as he comes around to flank Grantaire, standing before him and glaring. "You don't have to be like this. It's going to take us hours to work through this anyway. It'll be late, you'll be hungry. Stay for dinner. My mom always makes too much food when she cooks anyway."

"I'm not worried about your mom," Grantaire says quietly, looking down at the toes of his shoes because it's easier than looking at Enjolras. "But it seems like you are. Maybe you should just man up and tell her the truth. It seems like it'd be less complicated, in the long run." He brushes past Enjolras, still without looking at him.

"And what is that?" Enjolras demands of his back.

Grantaire sighs and turns back. He comes forward until he stands just before Enjolras. Enjolras looks taken aback, blinking at him, and even more so when Grantaire reaches toward him. But Grantaire just takes Robespierre out of his arms and props his weight against a hip. "That you broke my heart, of course," he says. "And then you didn't even have the decency to leave me to put it back together in peace."

Enjolras gapes at him, his expression caught somewhere between shock and outrage. His mouth works in silence for a moment, before he snaps it shut and then says hotly, "Lamarque paired us together."

"Yeah. And you could've asked for a different assignment, but you didn't."

"You could have, too, if it's that awful for you to work with me!"

Grantaire's smile is a twisted, bitter thing. "No, Enjolras," he says, backing away down the aisle between the rows of desks, towards the door. "You really don't know anything at all, do you?"

Enjolras's face goes blank with incomprehension, because he really is the biggest idiot in the whole entire world. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"Figure it out," Grantaire snaps, and turns on his heel and strides out.

#

Two days later, Grantaire's sitting cross-legged in front of the classroom door when Lamarque arrives. He's pretty sure he's never been on campus this early in his life, but it's important.

Lamarque blinks at him when he unfolds and gets to his feet, hesitating. "Grantaire," he says at length, sifting through his keys for the one for the classroom. "Can I help you with something?"

"Yeah," Grantaire says, and tries to will his shoulders down out of the taut hunch they've been pulled into for days.

He follows Lamarque inside, waits until he's set down his bag and settled into his chair behind his desk and is looking at Grantaire expectantly. Grantaire pulls a chair up to the other side of the desk, drops down into it with a sigh, says, "I think I want a divorce." He reaches down and takes Robespierre out of his backpack, pulls him up onto his lap and sits with an arm wrapped around him. "And I want custody."

Lamarque gives him a long, assessing look that makes Grantaire want to squirm beneath the steadiness of his gaze. "You think?" he says quietly, his eyebrows lifting. "Divorce isn't something to be entered into lightly."

Grantaire blows out a huff of air. "Yeah, well, it's a fake divorce for a fake marriage that I was forced into unwillingly so I don't really need any morality speeches. And technically, isn't a lack of consent grounds for an annulment, anyway?"

Lamarque's mouth tightens. Grantaire's not sure if it's anger or humor that he's trying to hide, but he supposes that in the end, it doesn't matter either way. "If you want to split your partnership," he says, reaching down into his desk drawer and pulling out a stapled packet of papers, "that's your prerogative. But I meant it about the extra work entailed in incorporating those costs into your budget." He tips his head to the side and considers Grantaire. "If you're going to fight for custody, that's going to increase the cost as well. Plus the costs associated with raising a child as a single parent. And the courts move slowly, of course. It will take some time."

Grantaire rolls his eyes up to the ceiling. Did all teachers have to take a class on how to be an idiot in order to get their credential? "You're the courts."

Lamarque's smile is thin and could mean anything. "And I'm striving for realism in this exercise."

"Christ! Fine." Grantaire shoots to his feet, Robespierre tucked securely in his arm. "Sit on it for however long you think it's going to take to make it feel realistic, but just do it. I'll do whatever stupid extra work you want me to." He snatches the papers from Lamarque's desk and shoves them unceremoniously into his bag.

"Grantaire," Lamarque says as he starts to turn away. Grantaire stops and turns back to him, frowning. "Have you discussed your decision with Enjolras?"

"Figured I should talk to my lawyer first," he snaps, and then goes to his desk in the back and drops down into his chair, shoulders hunched even higher than they'd been to start with.

#

Enjolras texts him later in the week, a short message that says only, Tomorrow at 4, my place?

Grantaire locks his phone and puts it back in his pocket without responding.

The next day he gets another text just as he's leaving campus, R? Are you coming over or not?

Not, he sends back, and then ignores the way his phone vibrates frenetically with incoming messages for the next ten minutes. Eventually Enjolras gives up, and Grantaire shoves his phone deep under his pillow when he gets home and sets about ignoring it thoroughly for the rest of the evening.

The next day in Lamarque's class, Grantaire's got his head bent, frowning at the figures Lamarque gave him for budgeting life as a single parent, when the skin at the back of his neck prickles with the sense of someone near. He lifts his head and finds Enjolras looming over him, his face set with something that's not quite anger.

His expression may be lying, though, because as soon as he sees he has Grantaire's attention, he bursts out, "Are you going to leave this entire assignment to me? At this point I'd probably do it if you did, it's got to be less work than trying to wrangle you into helping, but it'd be nice if you told me."

"I'm working," Grantaire says, and flaps Lamarque's packet in the air to make his point. "See? I'm working right now."

Enjolras looks little mollified. "That's great, but we still need to find time to sit down and compare our budgets, R. The assignment isn't for us each to come up with our own idea of how the family should spend it's money. The assignment is to work together to come up with something that works for both of us. For all of us," he adds with a pointed glance at where Robespierre is sitting in his usual spot on the corner of Grantaire's desk. Usually it's not a problem, but today with Grantaire's books and papers and folders out, space is at a premium, and Robespierre's position is a precarious one. "Would you like me to take him for a while?"

"We're fine," Grantaire says viciously, and flips through Lamarque's packet to see if he's got anything in there about child support or alimony.

Enjolras stays there a moment longer, looking down at Grantaire, his gaze a palpable weight while Grantaire does his best to ignore it entirely. "We're meant to be co-parents," Enjolras says at length. "That means we should--"

"We're fine."

Enjolras looks ready to argue and Grantaire doesn't think that announcing his plans to file for divorce and sue for custody here in the middle of their rapidly-filling classroom is going to lead to anything good, but he braces himself to do it all the same, when the bell rings and Lamarque stands up from his desk to begin the day's lecture, and Grantaire has never in his life been so grateful for school to start.

It'd be somewhat more of a victory if Enjolras had more than two feet to slink back to his seat, and if he weren't forced to endure the weight of his stare for the rest of the period, but at least Enjolras is silent for the rest of the period, and doesn't give chase when Grantaire books it out of class as soon as the bell rings.

#

"So," Éponine says, overly disingenuous as she sorts through his collection of markers until she's found just the shade of purple she likes, and hands it over to him. "How's marital bliss?"

"Shut up," he says without much venom. He's halfway through drawing a swirling, sprawling flower design across Éponine and Combeferre's flour baby, and the attention to detail he's trying for requires concentration.

Éponine hums, waits for him to finish filling in a series of petals with the purples before handing over a coordinating blue. "Trouble in paradise?"

"I am going to give your baby a skull and crossbones if you don't drop it," Grantaire says mildly, which is definitely the wrong threat, because Éponine's eyes go bright a moment before she says, "That would be amazing, you have to do it."

He sighs, shades in the purple petals with the blue to give them dimension, and then hands it back and says, "Black, then."

She passes it over and holds her tongue while Grantaire bends his head to the task of fitting in a skull and crossbones amongst the flowers and foliage he's already drawn in. When he's got the shape of it sorted out and the placement positioned how he likes, he sighs again and sets the marker down and looks up to meet her eye. "I'm getting a divorce, that's how it's going."

She clucks her tongue sympathetically, which is frankly a lot kinder than he expected of her. "I suppose that was inevitable, in the end. What'd he have to say about it?"

Grantaire leans over to grab a dark green from the pile before her and starts drawing in a curled, trailing vine that wraps around the arms of the crossbones. "Nothing, yet."

Which is noncommittal enough that it could mean that Enjolras simply didn't have an opinion on the matter, but Éponine is quiet for a beat and then she says, "You haven't told him." It's not a question, but it's not a judgment either, which is why Éponine is his very best friend.

"I'm not really interested in another fight. I just want--"

He breaks off and she lets him lie there, sprawled across his bed, and think about it. He thinks she's waiting for him to eventually find his way to an end to that sentence, but there's nothing. He doesn't know what he wants. He just wants to not feel so tired every time he looks at Enjolras. He wants to go back in time and make Lamarque pick some other partner for this stupid project. He just wants everything to be simple again. It wasn't easy, but at least he knew where it was all going.

Even if that was a high school career full of detention and crap grades and probably an illustrious career flipping burgers afterwards, at least it was a destination.

"Well," Éponine says when the silence has stretched on too long. "You'd better figure that out."

Fucking tell me about it, Grantaire thinks with a sigh, but doesn't say so, because it would just earn him a punch to the arm.

He works a small, camouflaged sailing ship in amongst the greenery, to tie into the skull-and-crossbones theme, and he's just drawing in the rigging when there's the sound of footsteps outside his bedroom door, followed by a quiet knock.

His stomach turns over abruptly. His parents don't knock, they just barge on in, especially when he's got a friend in his room with him, like they think if they spring out and cry, "Gotcha!" they'll catch him in the middle of a makeout session or something.

His parents wouldn't knock and there's really only one person his parents would let into the house on his own to come see him, rather than calling Grantaire down to greet his guest.

He caps his pen and pushes the lot of them aside so he can roll over onto his back. The lights are bright and he's already exhausted so he lifts his arm to cover his eyes and says, "What do you want?"

There's a pause, and then the door creaks open. Another pause, and then Enjolras's voice, saying, "You don't seem inclined to come to my house to work, so I brought the work to you."

Grantaire lowers his arm and sits up. "You figured, between your house and work, it was the location that I had a problem with?"

Enjolras's mouth pulls into a thin, twisted line. He steps inside the bedroom, gives a nod of greeting to Éponine, and then looks at Grantaire like he just really doesn't know what to do with him. Which is stupid and unfair, because Enjolras is the reason that Grantaire isn't his to do something with in the first place. "You are both willing and able to do hard work, R, I've witnessed that for myself."

Grantaire gives a one-shouldered shrug. "When properly motivated."

Enjolras's expression twists with frustration an instant before he says, "Then what do I have to do in order to motivate you? Our due date is fast approaching and it seems like the closer it gets, the less interested you are in working on it."

"I told you in class. I am working on it."

"It's a group project, we're meant to be collaborating--"

Behind him, Éponine gives a gusty sigh and picks up her newly-decorated flour baby. "Just tell him, R," she says, because she is the very worst, and then she breezes out of the bedroom, leaving Grantaire alone with Enjolras and strongly considering revoking her best friend status. Friends don't abandon friends alone with their exes.

Enjolras twists to follow Éponine's departure with his gaze, then turns back to Grantaire. His expression has lost some of its sharpness, it's harshness, gone soft and confused. "Tell me what?"

"Nothing," Grantaire says, and flops onto his back to cover his eyes with his arm again.

"R."

"She shouldn't have opened her big mouth."

Footsteps, coming closer to the bed. "R."

"For fuck's sake, Enjolras." He pushes himself up onto his elbows. "You can't connect the dots? I'm working on the assignment alone because I want to do the assignment alone." Enjolras still looks like he doesn't get it, so Grantaire decides it's time to be ruthless. "I want a divorce."

Enjolras blinks at him rapidly. His expression slides through a serious of lightning-flash expressions, shock and bewilderment and hurt, before it all goes carefully blank. "Isn't it rather late to be making that decision now? You couldn't have decided you didn't want to be with me back at the start, and left me sufficient time to do the assignment on my own?"

"Funnily enough, what makes things easier for you was not exactly a priority in my decision. Now get out."

"R--"

"No, Enjolras. You don't get to argue your way out of being dumped. I know that's a new experience for you, being on the other side of the heartbreak, but you're just going to have to do what every other teenager in the world does and buck up and move on. And get out."

Enjolras backs away from him, a few steps until he's receded through Grantaire's doorway and has, apparently, satisfied his own personal definition of leaving, because once he's in the hallway he stops and doesn't go any farther, and he says, "Grantaire," like he's pleading with him, like Grantaire's the one being unreasonable here.

Grantaire looks at him and he's abruptly bone-deep tired. He sighs and feels like that one small breath of air takes all his strength with it. He hunches forward, elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. "What the fuck do you want, Enjolras?" he asks, quietly, entreating.

Enjolras is quiet for a long moment. "I don't know," he says at last, and it's soft and honest but it still makes Grantaire bark a humorless laugh.

"Great. Welcome to the club."

"May I come back in?"

"I don't know what good you think it'll do."

Enjolras shifts, hands in his pockets, his head dropped forward as though the toes of his shoes have suddenly become endlessly fascinating. "I'd like to anyway."

"Christ." Grantaire scrubs his hands over his face. "Fine. Come in here, say what you've got to say, we can have yet another screaming fight that ends in a horrible breakup. That seems to be our MO anyway."

That makes Enjolras's brow crease. He takes one step inside, just past the threshold, and then stays there, standing in Grantaire's doorway. "Do you--" He stops, seems to reconsider his words. "You can't think you were the only one upset when we broke up."

"Can't I? I sort of got the impression it was a fun time for you, considering you kept doing it. Or do you expect me to believe that all that on-again-off-again just some sort of exercise in masochism? Because that's awfully rich, when I was the one left hurting at the end of it."

Enjolras's expression grows even more troubled. "I--"

"Enjolras, I swear to god, if you are about to try to convince me that it hurt you to dump me all those times, I am going to throw Robespierre at your head."

Enjolras goes silent, which is damning enough. He presses his lips together tight and looks like he wants to say more, like he would, if it weren't for the threat of projectile baking supplies. The silence stretches into minutes, Enjolras looking like he has a world of things to say bottled up inside him and trying to burst free, Grantaire wishing he could just bury his head under his pillow and ignore the world for a while.

"You must think I never cared for you at all," Enjolras says at last, softly, like it's an awful, dawning realization.

Grantaire presses his palms to his face. "I don't know, Enjolras. What else am I supposed to think about someone who toys with me like you have?"

Enjolras takes a sharp breath. "I wasn't-- It wasn't toying--"

"For fuck's sake, Enjolras." Grantaire gets off the bed and onto his feet. It feels as though it takes all the strength he has left in him, but he does it, and he pulls his spine straight and his shoulders back as he stands up. "Okay, fine. Let's do this. Let's have this out. Maybe it'll finally help me get over you. So go ahead, Enjolras. Tell me why the hell you'd break up with me and take me back only to break up with me again, over and over, if it wasn't cruelty. If it wasn't some sort of sport for you."

Enjolras's throat works for a moment. His eyes are hooded, unreadable, and when he speaks his voice is careful and even. "Why would you keep taking me back, if that's what you think of me?"

"Oh Christ. You have to ask?" Grantaire pulls his hands through his hair and doesn't even grimace when it catches on his tangled curls. "I love you, Enjolras. I'm stupid over you." He gives a harsh, broken laugh. "Obviously. Éponine's been telling me I'm an idiot for ages. But the fact of the matter is, I love you. I'm always going to take you back. Maybe that makes me an idiot, but I've never been the sort to know what's good for me. I don't have the constitution to deny myself. I'm always going to take you back, Enjolras. No matter how much it hurts."

The look in Enjolras's eyes goes soft and maybe a little bit sad, and it makes Grantaire want to chuck Robespierre at his head all over again. "R," he breathes, like somehow this is painful for him.

"So you tell me, Enjolras. Tell me why. You know my answer, so what's yours?"

Enjolras grimaces and drops his gaze down. It doesn't go as far as his shoes, this time, but it still makes him look tormented. "I love you," he says quietly, so soft Grantaire almost misses it. But he doesn't, and his heart stutters two quick, painful beats against his breastbone. Not loved. Love. Present tense. "Don't ever think I don't."

"Christ, Enjolras, then why?"

That, finally, gets him to look something other than sad or pitying. There's a fire that snaps into his gaze, a fierceness that loosens the knot in Grantaire's chest because that, at least, is an Enjolras he's familiar with. "No one ever stays with their high school sweethearts. You know that, right? The odds are--" He exhales sharply. "It doesn't happen. You fall in love, you get stupid with it, you learn from your mistakes so the next time, and the next, and the next, you can do a little better, and be less of an idiot."

Grantaire takes a sharp step back. The edge of his bed presses against his calves and he drops down onto it, an icy feeling spreading fingers through his stomach. "Okay, so, what, you dumped me because you decided we were doomed from the start? Figured you'd cut your losses and move on to the next and the next? I was just a waypoint on your journey to emotional maturity?"

"No! Grantaire-- R-- No, it wasn't that."

"So why the yo-yoing then? If I'm just here to teach you how to be a better boyfriend for the next guy, why string me along? Why take me back? Why not just let me get the fuck over you and move on?"

Enjolras blinks rapidly. The corners of his mouth go tight and his hands flex at his sides. "Would you do that? Get over me?" His breath rises and falls with a sharp breath. "Would you move on?"

"Enjolras. That isn't fair." Grantaire lets out a shuddering sigh. "None of this fair. Why are you even telling me this?"

"You asked me to."

"That's not what I mean. Why--" Grantaire leans his head in his hands, heels pressed against his eyes. "Why."

There's only quiet, broken by the uneven, unmatched rhythm of their breathing. Then the whisper of footsteps across the carpet, coming nearer. Another stretch of silence, and then the mattress dipping sideways beneath Enjolras's weight. "I love you," Enjolras says faintly, and Grantaire shudders and claws his fingers into his hair. "I've always loved you. That hasn't stopped. And when we were together, I'd hope that we could beat the odds. And then we'd be screaming at each other over something and I'd think, See? You're just deluding yourself, Enjolras. We aren't compatible, we can't make this work. It's just going to be more and more painful and things are going to get worse and worse until we finally can't bear it anymore. I'd think that it would be better to just get it over with, just sever ties now and spare us both the misery and the horrible end." Grantaire makes a wounded sound into his hands, but Enjolras keeps talking. "And then-- and then I'd miss you, and you would seem so sad. And I'd think, we didn't have a horrible protracted breakup, we ended it cleanly, we could still be friends. And then maybe I wouldn't miss you so badly, and you wouldn't be so sad."

Grantaire makes that same, broken sound again. "Enjolras," he says softly, sadly. "Enjolras, they were always horrible. Every one of them. They always were for me."

Enjolras is quiet a moment. Grantaire wonders what his expression looks like, if he's watching Grantaire, if Grantaire's words have had any impact on him at all. He wonders, but he isn't brave enough to look.

"Why would you take me back?" Enjolras asks eventually. "Why would you have me again, after that?"

Grantaire tries to laugh, but it comes out closer to a sob. "I told you. I can't walk away from you. I'm not strong enough to say no."

Another stretch of silence. "We're both lacking willpower, then. Because I couldn't ever manage to say no to you, either. And then we'd get back together, and every time I'd think I was wrong. I loved you so much, and you me, and it was so good. Surely we could make it work. And then--"

"Then we'd start screaming at each other again." Grantaire's voice is hoarse, like he's been screaming. He summons all his strength, drops his hands, and looks sidelong at Enjolras. "We're always going to scream at each other, Enjolras. Neither of us are the sort to give in easily. That's why-- That's what I've always loved about you."

"I always admired it in you," Enjolras confesses softly. He puts his hands down on either side of himself. His fingers are curled on the edge of the mattress, halfway between Grantaire's hips and Enjolras's. Grantaire stares at it and can't look away. "I just thought-- I thought it should be easier. I thought if it was right, it would be."

"When have you ever done anything easily?" Grantaire asks, and Enjolras gives a short laugh like it's startled out of him. He looks surprised to find himself laughing at all. Grantaire puts his hand down on the edge of the bed, a breath of space between their fingers. It makes him feel daring, makes him feel breathless with it. "And-- now? Now what do you think?"

"God, R, I don't know." Enjolras tips his head back and stares up at Grantaire's ceiling. "What do you want?"

"Don't ask me that. You know what I want. It hasn't changed."

Enjolras's throat works. Grantaire can't look away. "I always thought that high school sweethearts never work out. But these past few weeks, with this assignment, we haven't been high school sweethearts. We've been something more than that, and I-- I want that, R. I want to argue over stupid points of a budget with you. I want--" His breath catches. Grantaire gathers his courage and slides his hand across the bed until their fingers are touching. "I want a Robespierre, or at least I want the choice. I want it all, and it's so stupid, but it's what I want." He turns his head, then, and meets Grantaire's eye. Grantaire can't breathe. "Don't divorce me, R. I don't want that."

"I can't promise we won't scream at each other again," Grantaire says. "I can't tell you it's going to be easy."

"That's okay." Enjolras's hand twitches, then slides over Grantaire's. He squeezes it tight and then holds on. "They say marriage is hard work, after all. I'm willing to put in the effort."

Grantaire turns his hand over, fitting their palms together. He squeezes back as he scrambles up onto his knees, leaning in to catch Enjolras by the shoulder. "Enjolras." His voice shakes. "Enjolras, you had better fucking mean this. If you get scared and run away again just because things get difficult, I'm going to kill you, I swear to god I will."

"I'm not." Enjolras leans in, his forehead against Grantaire's and a hand curled around the back of his neck. "I can't make any guarantees, you know I can't, but I'm going to try. I'm going to work at it. Will you let me try?"

Grantaire answers by throwing himself forward, his arms going around Enjolras's neck. They tumble backwards together onto the bed and Enjolras laughs, bright and happy this time. Grantaire muffles it with a kiss, and grins against Enjolras's mouth when his laughter dies abruptly.

Enjolras's hands go tight on Grantaire and his kiss turns sharp and edgy. Grantaire's grin fades. He leans into it, and doesn't draw back until a long time later, when he turns his face aside and laughs breathlessly against the skin of his throat. "Enjolras," he teases. "We'll scandalize the baby."

Without relinquishing his hold on Grantaire or ceasing the kisses he leaves peppered across Grantaire's throat, Enjolras reaches out with one hand, gropes until he's found Robespierre, and tips him forward onto his pen-and-marker face. "There," he says, his lips moving against Grantaire's skin. "Now, as I was saying..." He exerts pressure on the back of Grantaire's neck and guides him in again.

Grantaire laughs and kisses and kisses and kisses him.