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"...Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

—Matthew 17:20, New International Version


Everyone always remarked on how tiny Enjolras was. Grantaire had been reliably informed that people had been doing it long before Enjolras transitioned, and they’d kept right on doing it afterwards. In fact, the first thing Grantaire had said to Enjolras when the two of them first met in a 200-level Aesthetics course was something like, “Hey, prettyboy, come over here and make that ridiculously naive argument to my face!" swiftly followed by "Oh holy FUCK you’re short.”

Enjolras was five foot nothing in his stocking feet, as long as you measured him right when he woke up. Any later in the day and gravity would’ve already got to him. 

Courfeyrac was fond of saying that Enjolras’ body had stopped growing in the fifth grade when Enjolras had begun channelling all his energy into his rebellion against the kyriarchy. 

Combeferre was fond of saying that Enjolras had stunted his growth by substituting coffee for sleep during the years he was meant to be having his growth spurt. 

Grantaire was fond of saying that Enjolras was simply the largest concentration of perfection that could exist in the world at any one time — though of course he’d never said as much in Enjolras’ hearing. 

At any rate, Enjolras was quite small, which explained why Grantaire, intent on preventing his cup of beer from spilling despite the gauntlet of elbows and feather boas he was navigating, remained blissfully unaware that he’d hip-checked Enjolras onto the ground until Enjolras clawed his way up out of the sea of bodies, grabbed the end of Grantaire’s dark curls, and yanked. 

Grantaire slopped half his beer onto himself. Thank god his idea of dressing up for Pride was taking off his shirt and accessorizing with Bossuet’s Mardi Gras beads. 

“Grantaire!” came Enjolras’ commanding voice from directly behind him. Well. Behind and below him. About eight inches below, if you wanted to get specific. 

“Enjolras,” said Grantaire, tilting his head backward until he could fix Enjolras with at least one eye. “Didn’t see you there.” 

“Obviously,” said Enjolras, releasing him. 

Grantaire turned, spilled beer still trickling in rivulets down his belly. “You’ll give me a hand and lick this off, won’t you?” he said, indicating the sticky mess with a flourish. “Since the spill was of your making? Else your grasping hands will ne’er come clean, glistening with the Guinness of your guilt as surely as Lady Macbeth’s blushed with blood!” he finished, adding a dramatic hand gesture for good measure. 

As always, Enjolras appeared unimpressed by Grantaire's antics, awesome alliance of allusion and alliteration notwithstanding. “Perhaps if you lick the gravel and peanut shells off my hands, seeing as you’re the one that put me on the floor, I’ll consider a little quid pro quo,” he said evenly.

Grantaire gave this proposal far more serious consideration than it deserved, given the diseases that doubtless lurked on the average square foot of San Franciscan asphalt, but before he could compose his next over-educated rejoinder Enjolras had pulled out a water bottle — presumably summoned from hammerspace — and had started pouring it over Grantaire’s skin in the wake of the spilled beer. 

“I can buy you another beer,” Enjolras said as he poured, now sounding far more contrite. “Sorry about grabbing your hair, I just — panicked. Didn’t want you to slip away. I was supposed to be meeting Courf and Ferre here but I can’t find them and my phone’s dead and it’s starting to get dark and you’re the only familiar face I’ve seen in ages.” 

“You can pull my hair anytime,” said Grantaire’s mouth without at any point consulting his brain. “Um. I mean, what an unfortunate turn of events. You sure this was the place? It’s a little, ah, off the beaten path.” 

The Pride parade had, as always, ended early in the afternoon, and the close-knit graduates of the college activist group formerly known as Les Amis de LGBT had long since scattered in pursuit of one or more of the food vendors, craft stalls, performances, photo ops, and meetups that made SF Pride the weekend-long party it was. 

An hour ago, Grantaire had split off from Joly, Bossuet, and Bahorel to check out the alcoholic offerings of what was apparently a microbrewery staffed by seven lesbians and one arthritic beagle. He’d then found a flyer stuck to the bottom of his flip-flop advertising an open-air open mic touted as “exclusively LGBT — NO STRAIGHT TOURISTS PLEASE!” Intrigued, if only by the extremely authentic Victorian typography on the flyer, he’d picked his way down a nondescript alley strewn with beer bottles and found himself in a packed backlot in which a loading dock was being used as a makeshift stage. Christmas lights and rainbow flags were strung up everywhere. 

“This was most definitely the place,” said Enjolras. “That slam poet Courfeyrac’s obsessed with — the genderfluid one with the braid and the YouTube channel? — is supposed to be on stage at nine. So I’m sure they’re here, or going to be here soon, it’s just—well, I can’t exactly see over the crowd.” He glowered. “I thought about trying to climb the stage between acts, but—” he indicated the seething mass of bodies between the two of them and the stage, “—I don’t like my odds.” 

“Well then, Apollo,” said Grantaire, sweeping out one arm to dip into a deep bow, “let me be your chariot.” 

“What?” said Enjolras, nonplussed. 

This was too easy. “I’m saying you should ride me.” 

“What?!” 

Grantaire took pity on him. “I mean if I boost you up on my shoulders, you’ll be able to get a better view.” 

Enjolras just shot him a look. “Or you could make use of your presumably still-charged phone and text them to meet us by the drinks booth.” 

Oh. Right. “Oh. Right. I’ll just, uh, do that then,” said Grantaire awkwardly. He fumbled in his front pocket for his phone. 

His pocket was... wet. And sticky. And because this was Grantaire’s life, his phone was equally wet and sticky. “Looks like you owe me more than just another beer,” he said, thumbing the power button and getting no response. 

“Fuck,” said Enjolras with feeling, which set off the coil of heat at the base of Grantaire’s spine that always flared when Enjolras swore. “Oh God, I’m so sorry, R.” 

“Enj, it’s fine. Now that you’re bankrolling me I can finally upgrade to an iPhone 6.” 

Enjolras snorted. Then he sobered, staring at the ruined phone. “Back to square one, I guess.” 

“I was serious about carrying you on my shoulders, you know,” said Grantaire. 

Enjolras gave him an assessing sort of look, as though Grantaire were yet another table Enjolras was considering jumping on. Which, in a way, Grantaire figured, he was. 

“All right,” said Enjolras at last. “So. How do we do this?” 

Grantaire led him away from the crowd, back into the alley, and crouched low on the ground, bracing himself on his palms and trying not to think about what exactly he might be touching. “Your chariot awaits, O Phoebus.” 

It occurred to Grantaire as Enjolras clambered onto his shoulders that Grantaire finally had what he’d always longed for: his head between Enjolras’ legs. He stifled a burst of hysterical laughter. 

Keeping his balance as he straightened up again with the warm weight of Enjolras around his neck took considerable effort, but Grantaire was a martial artist and a dancer, not to mention an experienced drunk; he’d been training for this his whole life, practically. “Comfortable?” he asked his passenger. 

“Um,” said Enjolras uncertainly. “If it’s not too weird, can I hold onto your hair? This feels a little precarious and I don’t know what to do with my hands.” 

Grantaire tightened his grip on Enjolras’ legs in what he hoped was a reassuring manner. “I did say you could pull my hair any time.” 

Enjolras didn’t say anything, just sunk his slender fingers into Grantaire’s curls and held on. 

Grantaire had to swallow his moan. 

“Okay,” he said when he’d regained his composure. “Once more unto the breach.” 

“Is that Courfeyrac?” said Enjolras excitedly. “Over there!” He flung out an arm to point.

Enjolras points from Grantaire's shoulders toward a crowd of people standing under a wall hung with Christmas lights. 

Grantaire plunged them into the swirling vortex of people, unable to see much himself but confident that Enjolras had an excellent vantage point, despite the annoyingly large number of people who apparently thought wearing their silly parade hats to a fixed-stage show was acceptable concert etiquette.

Enjolras swore. “It’s not him. I forgot he lost the strap-on. I guess someone else had the same idea.” 

“Courf has a strap-on?” said Grantaire, deeply puzzled. As every single one of Courfeyrac’s friends was well aware, Courfeyrac was the proud owner of a one-of-a-kind, limited-edition flesh-and-blood penis, though he could occasionally be heard to curse his parents for not leaving it in its original packaging. “What the hell for? Was he hoping to seduce a nice girl with the promise of a bit of casual pegging?” 

“He was going to wear it on his head like a unicorn horn,” said Enjolras in a long-suffering tone. “He wanted to, and I quote, ‘freak out the straights.’” 

“I see how that would be useful for finding him in a crowd,” Grantaire said, amused. “But he forgot it?” 

“For the record,” noted Enjolras sourly, “even the kind of people who dress up in rainbows to attend a gay pride parade in San Francisco will give you funny looks if you start moaning on public transit about how badly you need your strap-on.” 

“That sounds like Courf,” said Grantaire with a fond smile. “The BART to Pride is always half vanilla straight girls in tutus anyway,” he added. Enjolras made a noise of assent, and they lapsed into a surprisingly comfortable silence as Grantaire maneuvered them through the encroaching horde of humanity and Enjolras looked to and fro for Combeferre and Courfeyrac. 

It had just been a silly little anecdote about a mutual friend, but it was one of the longest exchanges they’d had in recent memory that hadn’t ended in an argument or a brush-off or Grantaire making a complete idiot of himself. Grantaire should perhaps have found it depressing that this was the kind of minor accomplishment that thrilled him. He and Enjolras had been part the same friend group for years now, after all, and the two of them were at least nominally friends; he shouldn’t have been so pleased by barely five minutes of amiable banter. But it was so nice to hold tight to Enjolras, to feel the rise and fall of Enjolras’ diaphragm against the back of Grantaire’s head, to feel the flex of the muscles in Enjolras’ legs against Grantaire’s neck, to feel the slight scrape of Enjolras’ fingertips against Grantaire’s scalp, that Grantaire didn’t even feel the slightest compulsion to meditate on the things he was missing. 

They had drifted back to the fringes of the crowd, still without any glimpse of Combeferre or Courfeyrac, when Grantaire felt a splash of liquid strike his still-bare back. Judging by the smell of the cool stickiness now trickling down his pants, he’d been struck by yet another wayward cup of beer. “Seriously? Am I a beer magnet?” he whined. “Don’t answer that,” he added for Enjolras’ benefit. 

Grantaire tried to be philosophical about it. In such a crowded area, surrounded by people who didn’t have Grantaire’s impressive balance, accidents were bound to happen. 

“Fucking breeders!” slurred someone behind them.

“What are they even doing here?” came another voice, softer, equally inebriated. 

...Not an accident, then. 

Enjolras was wearing the purple hoodie he’d bought to support the Trans March, but even the big white print of TRANS ☆ MARCH was probably unreadable in the dim glow of the Christmas lights. Between his still-wide hips on display around Grantaire’s shoulders and his naturally wavy hair in its long blonde ponytail, he could be mistaken for a cis girl. 

From the back, the two of them must look like a het couple.

“What the fuck,” growled Enjolras. He pulled back with his left hand and forward with his right, using Grantaire’s hair like Katamari Damacy joysticks to turn Grantaire toward their hecklers. 

“Gays only!” a drunk presumably-gay man brandishing a half-full red solo cup was yelling. “Can’t you read?” The man flailed his free hand at a blown-up version of the event flyer, stuck up in multiple places on the wall of the alley. 

“It says LGBT, asshole!” Grantaire couldn’t help retorting. “I’m bi!” Albeit mostly just for Enjolras, who overshadowed all the other men Grantaire had ever looked at to such a degree that Grantaire couldn’t be entirely sure Enjolras was anything more than an exception to Grantaire’s rule. 

“Are you dicking a dude? No!” called a second, equally-drunk gay guy next to the first. “You shouldn’t be here! Take your fucking girlfriend and get out!”

Grantaire could feel Enjolras’s entire body vibrating, like an arrow-string pulled taut. At first he thought maybe Enjolras was on the verge of tears, but when Enjolras slipped off Grantaire’s shoulders without warning and stalked over to their detractors with a bloodthirsty gleam in his eye, Grantaire realized Enjolras had actually been shaking with suppressed rage. 

Enjolras didn’t stop until he was a scant six inches from the beer-thrower’s face, which had gone slack with shock. At such close range, it was impossible to mistake Enjolras for anything but a man. Grantaire didn’t believe in auras, but he’d still swear that despite his smooth cheeks, red lips, and tiny frame, Enjolras had the most masculine energy of anyone Grantaire had ever known. 

Already puffed up to his full height, Enjolras rose another two inches on his toes so he could just about look his prey in the eye. “Your biphobia sickens me,” he said in a voice that heralded death and destruction. “Your small-minded insularity is everything that’s wrong with the queer community. Swearing by the need for safe spaces in the same breath that you yourself make a space unsafe? Inexcusable. Obsessing over the legitimacy of someone’s claim to queerness reinforces the very hierarchies that oppress us, and the burden falls hardest on the most underrepresented demographics, bisexuals included. We’ve surely been shunned by mainstream society long enough to know better. We should be better.” 

The beer-thrower and his friend were gaping, opening and closing their mouths like fish. “Hey, man, we just thought you were a girl,” said the friend petulantly. “Honest mistake.” 

“Is that supposed to excuse your behavior?” spat Enjolras. “Let me remind you of two things. First of all, having a girlfriend in no way renders a bisexual man any less bisexual. Why should we let the presence of a straight person in a relationship turn that relationship straight? Why should we let straightness or the appearance of straightness erase us for one second longer? We’re here, we’re queer, and you’d better get used to it, or what the hell’s the point? We are here to overthrow the world as we know it. We are here to explode patriarchal notions of love, marriage, and identity just by existing. We are here to queer everything we touch, including heterosexual relationships....” 

He kept talking, warming to his theme more and more with every passing second. By all rights his audience should have fucked off by now, not stuck around to be lectured, but the beer-thrower and his friend were transfixed, caught in the tractor beam of Enjolras’ oration. 

Enjolras’ superpower was his ability to make extemporaneous speech sound like the product of several days’ memorization and possibly a professional speechwriter, no matter how scattered his thoughts actually were. The speeches didn’t always cohere when Grantaire tried to parse them after the fact, and yet Enjolras’ passion and conviction infused his every word with an unmistakeable profundity. It left Grantaire breathless every time, dizzy with something that was half possessive pride, half sheer lust. 

“...Which brings me to my second point,” said Enjolras, in the same tone most people used for And another thing! “Even setting aside the obvious option of bisexuality, a male-female couple could be queer in any number of ways invisible to the naked eye. Your lack of imagination is truly astounding. What if one or both partners were trans? What if one or both were intersex? The outward semblance of heterosexuality means nothing at all when one considers the vast galaxy of identities united under the umbrella queer. To be queer is to transgress against the cisheteropatriarchal narrative, yes, but what will it mean to transgress against the narrative when the narrative is finally destroyed once and for all? Queerness must be an ever-growing umbrella. It must grow and expand so that it can transform us, every one. There is no room in the future for a queer movement whose leaders look only backwards for their answers. There is no room in the future for a queerness guarded by gatekeepers with narrow minds. But frankly, if you’re this bigoted toward bisexualtiy, an identity that’s been enshrined in our community’s acronyms for the past thirty years, I shudder to think what your attitude must be towards the identities those less fortunate. Is there room in your narrow little world for transgender heterosexuals? Asexuals? Demisexuals?” 

“Demisexuals? That’s not a thing, that’s just made up,” said the beer-thrower, intent on demonstrating how little he possessed in the way of common sense. 

“Not even a—?” said Enjolras, so incensed he was beyond words. For a moment Grantaire was sure Enjolras was going to slap the man so hard his feet left the ground. Instead Enjolras snarled, “Listen to me, you pin-headed disgrace,” and pulled the man down with a hand twisted in the collar of his tight white crew-neck T-shirt so that Enjolras could whisper, intimate and vicious, directly into the man’s ear. 

Grantaire felt tingly all over. Enjolras getting worked up preaching to the choir was compelling enough, but Enjolras unleashing the full force of his righteous fury in the direction of a hostile target had Grantaire half-hard in his beer-soaked pants. 

With one last disgusted sneer, Enjolras thrust the beer-thrower away, sending the man stumbling into his friend. 

Then Enjolras turned back to face Grantaire.

“We’re leaving,” he announced. “Ferre and Courf will just have to meet us back in Milbrae. I don’t feel welcome here anymore and I want to go home.” 

Grantaire nodded dumbly. In this moment, he was sure, he would do literally anything Enjolras requested of him, no questions asked. 

The walk from the mysterious backlot to the nearest BART station took almost half an hour, Enjolras striding silently and purposefully a few steps ahead of Grantaire the entire time. Enjolras’ simmering anger was practically palpable, as if the fury writhing just below the surface was emanating from him in waves. 

For once Grantaire didn’t feel like interjecting with something flippant. 

When the two of them finally got on the next BART south, the inexorable RATTLE-RATTLE-RATTLE of the BART car seemed to shake some of the tension out of Enjolras. His shoulders drooped, and he slumped bonelessly back into his seat. 

Now Grantaire felt like interjecting with something flippant. 

“Nice hoodie,” he said. 

“Thanks,” said Enjolras warily.

“Nice to see you’re buying Pride merch after all those rants about how commercialization of gay rights by huge corporate sponsors is destroying the soul of the parade,” he said brightly. “It’s so comforting to know that even you are capable of changing your mind.”

Enjolras narrowed his eyes. He knew exactly what Grantaire was doing, but he still couldn’t resist rising to the bait. “The Trans March is administrated by an organization that’s completely independent from the one that runs the official Pride parade,” he said hotly. “And it doesn’t have big sponsors like Google or Apple. It’s important to support it financially.” 

“So you’re saying the original Pride parade isn’t important enough to deserve financial support?” 

Grantaire managed to keep Enjolras arguing for the rest of the ride, raising his voice above the whine of the train to discuss everything from the legitimacy of selling tote bags with Chelsea Manning’s face on them to the ebay resale value of Google’s exclusive employee-only Pride-themed T-shirts to the difference between concessions to a heteropatriarchal idea of sexual propriety and greater consideration for those on the asexual spectrum. 

As far as Grantaire could remember, in all the years they’d known each other, he’d never had Enjolras as a captive audience before. Normally any interaction Grantaire had with Enjolras was dominated by the knowledge that Enjolras’ schedule was packed and his attention was fleeting, which often led Grantaire to say patently ridiculous things just to keep Enjolras engaged. 

But now Enjolras was stuck in a train car with no one to talk to except Grantaire, and, assured of Enjolras’ interest in continuing the conversation, Grantaire found himself relaxing, communicating, talking naturally to Enjolras for once in his life. 

It was intoxicating. 

So it was with considerable reluctance that Grantaire exited the train car at Milbrae, and Enjolras must have sensed Grantaire’s growing melancholy, because he too grew quiet as the two of them took the escalator up from the BART platform to the turnstiles and made their way to the top corner of the parking garage, where Musichetta’s brightly-painted mystery van was parked next to Courfeyrac’s secondhand hybrid SUV. 

Grantaire was mindlessly trailing Enjolras, who moved incredibly quickly for someone with such short legs, when he suddenly realized he didn’t know what they were going to do next. 

Courfeyrac had driven Enjolras and Combeferre up to Milbrae from Silicon Valley, and Musichetta had driven Joly, Bossuet, and Grantaire up from San José hot on Courfeyrac’s heels, although everyone from their car had ended up one train behind. Driving to Milbrae and taking BART the rest of the way was vastly preferable to driving anywhere in downtown San Francisco, not to mention something of a group tradition, but it had all the same drawbacks as regular carpooling: namely, that none of the passengers had any way to get home independent of their respective drivers. 

But then Enjolras produced a keyring and said, “I have one of the backup keys for Courfeyrac’s car, and I know he’s got a phone charger in there. We’ll call everyone and tell Courf and Ferre to get a ride with Musichetta.”

Trust Enjolras to have a plan. 

“Sounds workable,” said Grantaire. “God knows Musichetta’s got the seats. Though they might have to rearrange some of the sound equipment.”

Enjolras took forever fumbling with his keyring, searching for the little-used analog key that would match the make and model of Courfeyrac’s car. 

“Hey, um,” said Grantaire into the near-silence, “I should’ve said this earlier, but thanks. For what you said to those douchebags. Your rage was — how do I say this? — incandescent.” 

“Insufferable bigots,” fumed Enjolras, some of his faded ire resurfacing. “You may be annoying when you’re drunk, but I’ll take an over-educated sot over an unlettered one any day.” 

“Thanks, I think,” said Grantaire, oddly touched. “Though they had me dead to rights, in a way,” he added thoughtfully.

“What,” said Enjolras in a flat, dangerous voice, whirling to stare at Grantaire. 

Oh God. Why did he have to open his big, stupid, self-deprecating mouth? Grantaire cursed his loose tongue. 

Enjolras’ gaze was piercing. 

Grantaire swallowed. “I, I mean, I barely even count as bi. Any fooling around I did with guys could easily be written off as experimental, a—a phase, I’ve dated exclusively women, and the one guy I’ve ever been serious about is never going to give me the time of day—” Enjolras looked more and more distressed as Grantaire rambled on, his eyes getting wider and wider, “—so I’m probably going to end up getting some girl pregnant and settling down in suburbia to drink my life away as a, a breeder, like they said—” 

And then Enjolras was pressing him up against the car, yanking him down with one hand buried in the curls at the back of his neck, and kissing him hard on the mouth. Grantaire’s brain chose that moment to short out entirely. There was nothing in the world but Enjolras’s hand in his hair and Enjolras’ mouth on his own, fierce and uncompromising, directing Grantaire exactly where he needed to be until he was moaning shamelessly into the kiss— 

—and when Grantaire moaned, Enjolras pulled away, dropping his heels back to the floor. “There!” he said loudly, sounding angry. “You liked that? You did, I know you did, and guess what, I’m a fucking guy, so you’re bisexual, so Pride is just as much for you as it is for me or for any of those assholes!” 

Completely poleaxed, Grantaire could only gape. 

Enjolras stared at him nervously, brow furrowed. “R, say something,” he said, voice oddly hoarse. 

Then he wiped the back of his hand across his wet, kiss-bitten mouth and let his tongue peek out to re-moisten his lips. 

Grantaire snapped. 

He dived down, cupping Enjolras’ face in both hands and bringing their mouths together, trying to memorize the feel of Enjolras’ lips on his, the contour of Enjolras’ stupidly perfect cupid’s bow, the texture of Enjolras’ tongue at its suckable tip. He dug his hands into Enjolras’ loosely bound blonde curls and was rewarded with Enjolras gasping into his mouth. Enjolras’ hands fluttered from Grantaire’s shoulders to his chest to his sides, stroking the muscle there rhythmically, unconsciously, like Enjolras was just as lost in Grantaire’s mouth as Grantaire was in his. 

Grantaire would have gladly let them both stay lost forever, but eventually they had to surface for air, panting hotly. Grantaire slumped back against the car window and Enjolras slumped into Grantaire’s chest, Enjolras’ fingernails digging just slightly into the skin of Grantaire’s back. 

“Is this—” began Grantaire, once he could breathe again, “Is this—Do you want this? Everybody thinks you’re ace, or demi, or, I don’t even fucking know—does the semblance of mutual antipathy count for your purposes as ‘strong emotional bonds,’? I just, I don’t—” 

Enjolras managed a weak chuckle, muffled in Grantaire’s chest. 

“—I don’t want to do anything you don’t want, but fuck, Enjolras, I am so fucking turned on right now it hurts. Oh god—”

Enjolras had started licking up Grantaire’s neck. Grantaire let his body slide down the side of the car so that Enjolras could reach higher than his collarbone. “Enjolras—please, you’re so good with words, always so—don’t go quiet on me—” 

“I want this,” said Enjolras, his voice impossibly husky. Had Grantaire even known it could get that low? “Grantaire. I want this. I know I can get... weird... about sex sometimes, but that's never been because I had no interest in it. I have... let's call it 'trust issues.' But right now I just, I really want you to trust me when I say you like men, and I can prove it.” 

Enjolras puncutated this last comment with a moistened finger tickling lightly through the hair of Grantaire’s treasure trail, and Grantaire’s knees abruptly threatened to give out. He decided not to say anything about whether or not further proof was really necessary. 

“Fuck, Enjolras, I, I want you to fuck me,” said his id without consulting his superego. 

“Yeah?” said Enjolras tentatively. It was a good-tentative, an excited-tentative, but it was also a there-might-be-logistics-issues-with-that tentative. He tilted his head in concentration and started running a finger under the waistband of Grantaire’s khahki shorts. 

“I don’t care, you—” said Grantaire as smoothly as he could while Enjolras’ hand dipped lower, stroking Grantaire through his boxers, “—you can, you c-can use your fingers, Courf’s gotta have condoms and stuff in the car, whatever you want, I just want you in me.”

Enjolras hummed against Grantaire’s chest, pleased, and Grantaire’s nipples were honestly not that sensitive but the ghostly vibration in combination with Enjolras’ hand on Grantaire's still-clothed cock sent him tripping over his words. “I, I want you to manhandle me like you manhandled that guy, I, nnnh oh fuck want you to whisper filthy things in my ear as you fuck me, I’ll do whatever you, ah, ahhfuck Enjolras whatever you fucking want,” he babbled, overwhelmed by the feeling of Enjolras’ nail digging into him just below the head of his cock in a way that should not have felt good but somehow brought the world into imossibly sharp focus—and then he lost track of words, letting his head fall back against the car window with a loud thunk as Enjolras massaged his perineum with the middle finger of his right hand while his left traced a line from Grantaire's hip bone to just below the waistband of his shorts, over and over, making Grantaire shiver. Grantaire was going to die. “Please, Enjolras, fuck—” 

“Okay,” said Enjolras, stepping back slightly and pulling his hands up to rest at Grantaire’s waist. His thumbs moved in restless circles for a moment. “Okay. Okay.” He briskly undid Grantaire’s fly, letting Grantaire’s shorts fall to six inches below the hip but no further. “Turn around, lean your upper body against the car and spread your legs a bit.” 

Grantaire eagerly complied, and Enjolras slipped one slim-fingered hand down the back of Grantaire’s shorts, under the khaki but over the thin cotton boxers, murmuring, “That’s it, relax, I want you to open up just a little for me.” Enjolras was using a voice that was low and hypnotic, as if he’d mixed a generous helping of maple syrup with whatever it was that made his speeches so compelling. Grantaire’s skin felt impossibly hot, the car door blessedly cool. He pressed his forehead to the chill of the window and let his eyes flutter open as the tip of Enjolras’ finger breached him. 

That was when he saw it. 

“Enjolras,” he said on a breathy exhale as Enjolras probed further inside him. “Enjolras!” 

“Mmhmm,” said Enjolras calmly. “Grantaire.” He nosed at Grantaire’s shoulder blade. “Are you going to be good and make lots of noise for me?” 

“No, Enjolras, look,” gasped Grantaire. 

Enjolras followed Grantaire’s line of sight. Then he let his head fall forward into Grantaire’s back, laughing softly. “Fuck. Of course.” 

There, on the floor of Courfeyrac’s car, in full view of the window, was Courfeyrac’s forgotten strap-on. Ordered brand new for the occasion... and still in its original packaging. 

In the blink of an eye Enjolras had jostled Grantaire out of the way, torn open the door, and grabbed the box. “You were right, by the way,” he said over his shoulder in his normal speaking voice. “Courf has sex in this car all the time, there’s a ton of supplies. Ferre started enforcing regular inventory checks after one too many horror stories about chafing and barebacking and sunscreen for lube. C’mon.” 

Grantaire stumbled after him toward the trunk of the car, still not quite sure that any of this was really happening. 

Enjolras clambered nimbly into the back of the car, where the third row of seats was already flattened under a floor panel covered with something that looked like a furniture blanket. Enjolras pulled a lever on each side of the seating area and the second row of seats began folding forward with a low mechanical whine. While they were folding, Enjolras popped open a panel in one wall and pulled out lube, condoms, and a pack of wet wipes. When seats had folded down all the way, Enjolras unfolded the furniture blanket to cover the rough slope the seats created. 

“I love this car,” said Grantaire fervently. “I really fucking love this car.” 

“I really love Courf and Ferre,” countered Enjolras. 

“Them too,” agreed Grantaire. “Bless their pragmatic approach to sex positivity.” He hopped into the car and pulled the hatch closed behind him, scooting further in until his back was against the folded middle seats. He then turned his attention to Enjolras, and found him opening the box containing the strap-on. 

The box was emblazoned with a stereotypically cringeworthy sex pun so bad Grantaire silently vowed to wipe it from his memory until the end of time (that is, until he next saw Joly.) Enjolras now had the poorly-named item in question out of the box and was hefting it in his hand. The dildo was peach-toned, neither too small nor too large, aiming for realism, with thick veins, a generous upward curve to the shaft, a smooth pink head, and even a textured ballsack. It was already secured behind the o-ring of its harness. 

Grantaire’s mouth may have been watering.

“I like it,” announced Enjolras. Then he burst out laughing. 

“What?” said Grantaire, nonplussed. 

“Sorry,” said Enjolras between giggles. “I’m just imagining Courf wearing this on his head.”

“Before or after we’ve had a round with it?” asked Grantaire, which only made Enjolras laugh harder. 

Enjolras had a beautiful smile — Enjolras had a beautiful everything — but he didn’t often laugh, at least not loud and long like he was doing now. To see Enjolras like this, bubbling over with delighted laughter, somehow even more impossibly gorgeous than he normally was… it seemed an incredible privilege. 

Even if it was rather delaying the main event. 

Grantaire pulled Enjolras down on top of him and kissed the gorgeous creature through his laughter, relishing the feel of Enjolras’ smile in every kiss, until Enjolras was back with the program, tangling his fingers in Grantaire’s hair and devouring his mouth. 

“Take off your pants,” demanded Enjolras playfully. “They’re terrible. They stink of beer.” 

“My apologies, Apollo,” said Grantaire, smirking, and Enjolras bit him sharply on his bottom lip.

“Don’t call me that tonight,” said Enjolras, meeting Grantaire’s eyes. “Tonight I want to be myself and only myself. I only want to hear my name.” 

“Enjolras,” said Grantaire obligingly. “Enjolras. Enjolras.” He punctuated each repetition with a thrust of his barely-clothed erection against the small lump in Enjolras’ pants Grantaire had always assumed was some kind of packer. Every time he did it, Enjolras’ breath hitched. “Enjolras, I’ll take off my pants if you take off yours.” 

“Okay,” breathed Enjolras, and he scrambled off Grantaire, facing the back window to struggle out of his skinny jeans. 

“Oh my god, take off your shoes first, you dork!” admonished Grantaire, laughing, and Enjolras blushed. It was beautiful. Everything he did was so fucking beautiful. Grantaire felt slightly light-headed.    

He decided to focus on getting his shorts off, so as to give Enjolras some semblance of privacy for however Enjolras wanted to handle divesting himself of his underwear. Sure enough, Enjolras, now out of his red converse, turned his back to Grantaire, shimmying out of what appeared to be boxer briefs as Grantaire tried not to look. 

“Can you hand me the…” Enjolras trailed off, back still to Grantaire. 

It was strange, hearing Enjolras sound genuinely uncertain. Far less like a privilege and far more like a violation. 

Well, Grantaire had never met an awkward silence he couldn’t shatter. “Will I hand you your cock, you mean?” 

Enjolras huffed a tiny laugh. “Yes, Grantaire,” he said. “Hand me my cock.” 

“As long as you promise you’ll give it to me later,” said Grantaire wickedly, handing over the strap-on. 

“I think I can do that,” said Enjolras a little breathlessly. He curled down to tug the harness up his legs until it was positioned over his hips where he lay on his side, still facing the wall. “Okay. Just needs tightening.” 

A few moments of quiet fumbling with the harness later, Enjolras straightened up and knee-walked until he was straddling Grantaire’s legs. His newly acquired cock jutted proudly forward, for all the world like one of flesh and blood. Grantaire leered at it, and Enjolras smiled. 

After Enjolras had made the last few necessary adjustments to the black straps wrapped around his hips, Grantaire levered himself up so that he could cup Enjolras’ face to kiss him. The cool cockhead of the dildo pressed up against Grantaire’s stomach, and he shivered. 

“I want to suck you,” he murmured to Enjolras between kisses. Enjolras made an inquisitive noise into his mouth and Grantaire hummed. “You’ll like it, trust me.” 

Enjolras pulled back and raised his eyebrows expectantly. Get on with it, then. 

“Switch places with me?” Grantaire suggested, waving a hand toward the folded middle row of seats at his own back. “Lie down, prop yourself up on your elbows.” 

When Enjolras had done so, already looking horribly debauched laid out on the furniture blanket with his hair in disarray and his sinful mouth swollen and red, Grantaire crawled between his legs and wrapped a hand around the base of the dildo. He pressed the base down so that it rubbed against Enjolras through the harness and Enjolras gasped. 

“There, see?” said Grantaire, smug. “Now, remember, try to keep your eyes open. Don't want you to miss anything.” 

He bent and took Enjolras’ cock in his mouth, intentionally drooling a bit to ease his way down, and then he flicked his eyes up to see if Enjolras was watching. 

Enjolras was most definitely watching. He already seemed utterly transfixed, his mouth hanging open as he stared. “Grantaire,” he breathed. 

Grantaire smiled around his mouthful. It didn’t taste like a cock, true, but it could’ve been coated in wasabi and he would’ve still wanted it down his throat. It was Enjolras’ cock. 

He started bobbing his head in earnest, letting the motion push the base of the dildo against Enjolras through the harness until Enjolras’ breath was coming fast and shallow, hitching around his tiny noises of pleasure. Enjolras’ bent knees had fallen open, his pale thighs were quivering, and he was even thrusting a little, tilting his hips up to meet Grantaire’s mouth. Grantaire chanced another look upward, trying his best to keep bobbing up and down as he did so, and was rewarded with the sight of Enjolras’ eyelashes fluttering open and shut as Enjolras tried valiantly to keep his eyes open for every second of the show Grantaire was putting on for him. 

Grantaire dove back down again, moving his hand in sync with his mouth so that he could put more pressure where it counted. 

Fuck, Grantaire,” said Enjolras throatily. “Wait—wait a second. Hold your hand tight at the base and don’t let it move.”

Grantaire obliged, straightening up and bracing himself more firmly against the floor of the car. Enjolras curled up towards him, sinking one hand into Grantaire’s hair to use for an anchor as he ground himself into the unrelenting press of Grantaire’s hand. “Yeah,” said Grantaire, turned on beyond belief by the sight and feel of Enjolras’ hard cock in his grip as Enjolras chased orgasm. “Yeah, like that, fuck, Enjolras—do you have any idea how hot you are?” 

“I want your mouth back on me,” panted Enjolras, bracing his feet against Grantaire for better leverage. “I want—I want to come while you’re sucking my cock, R—” 

He used his hold on Grantaire’s hair to push Grantaire’s head down again, and Grantaire let out a strangled whine, nearly giving himself a black eye in his rush to get his mouth back on Enjolras’ dick. Enjolras’ half-lidded gaze was hot, intent on where Grantaire was enthusiastically fellating the strap-on’s smooth pink head and holding his hand steady around its lower half so that Enjolras could grind forward into it ever more frantically. Enjolras wrapped his own small hand around Grantaire’s where Grantaire’s fist was tight at the base of the strap-on, where Grantaire could feel that Enjolras had started to soak through the thick material of the harness. “Grantaire, I’m, ah, oh fuck I’m gonna come—” 

Grantaire, still suckling at the tip of Enjolras’ cock, looked up one last time, determined to see Enjolras’ face as he came. Their eyes met for a single crystalline moment before Enjolras moaned helplessly and bucked against Grantaire’s hand. He convulsed in on himself over and over, wracked with paroxysms of pleasure, until finally he collapsed, shivery and boneless, onto the furniture blanket underneath him. 

“Sweet Christ,” said Grantaire with feeling. 

Enjolras’ eyes had fallen closed and he was taking long, shaky breaths. 

Grantaire crawled up next to him on the folded seats, nuzzling into his neck. Enjolras hadn’t even taken off his hoodie, though it was unzipped over his old LES AMIS DE LGBT+ t-shirt from college.

Tentatively, Grantaire wrapped an arm across Enjolras’ stomach, unsure what kind of hang-ups Enjolras did or didn’t have about his chest. Enjolras just sighed happily and turned his head in Grantaire’s direction. 

“I was right,” Grantaire murmured into Enjolras’ neck. 

Enjolras made another inquisitive noise. 

“You did like it,” said Grantaire, smiling. His own cock was stiff against Enjolras’ thigh, leaking a little, but he could ignore that indefinitely if it meant getting to hold Enjolras like this. Some people just liked cuddling after sex. It didn’t have to mean anything. 

“Mmm,” hummed Enjolras. “I did.”

They let silence reign. The only sound in the car was the soft susurrus of their breathing, which gradually slowed until their chests were rising and falling in time with one another. 

Grantaire let his thoughts drift. He thought about Enjolras shuddering violently against his hand. He thought about the angle of his hand relative to the angle of Enjolras’ hips, and how best to reproduce it for other positions. He thought about where else they might have sex. He thought about his own apartment, how he’d have to clean it before bringing Enjolras over. He thought of all the shit on the floor of his room, all his overdue library books. His mind took him further and further afield until eventually it seemed the most natural thing in the world to say, “Say, have you ever heard of Napoleon’s great-grandniece?” 

Enjolras made a wounded noise. “Grantaire, you can’t talk about Napoleon in bed.” 

“Ah, but I’m not talking about Napoleon,” Grantaire insisted, “I’m talking about his great-grandniece! Princess Marie Bonaparte. Wonderful woman. Wonderfully scientific mind. Ransomed Freud from the Nazis. Had at least half a dozen affairs, a few of which I’m convinced were purely for research purposes. Also, we’re lying in the back of a car, not in bed,” he added, unable to help it. 

“Is there a point to this?” asked Enjolras hesitantly. 

“Maybe,” said Grantaire. He wasn’t entirely sure himself. His mind lit up with random facts on a regular basis; he’d learned to roll with it. There was always a reason, even if the connections were too tenuous for his conscious mind to follow. “Just someone I started reading up on last week. There was a Cracked article on royalty with weird quirks, I think. Imagine: a princess, moonlighting as, get this, a sexologist. Princess Sexologist, you gotta love it. She was totally obsessed with her inability to orgasm from penetration, poor thing, she called it frigidity — Freud was a close friend of hers, which would’ve been enough to give anybody a complex — so she decided to make a grand study of the clitoris!” 

Enjolras blinked once. Then he let his eyes roll back into his head until they were firmly closed. “Grantaire…” 

“The prince asked her to stop obsessing over her lack of orgasms — so she could focus on home and family, naturally — and she told him he could fuck right off. She was committed. She personally oversaw the measurement of the distance from the clitoris to the vagina of 243 wuh–uh, people, ” Grantaire corrected hastily, only barely remembering to change the plural noun to something gender neutral. Probably all the people in the study had been cis women, but that was exactly the kind of assumption likely to send Enjolras off on another glorious verbal tear. 

Enjolras was more at peace with the parts he possessed than some in his position, and Grantaire knew Enjolras resented being handled with kid gloves — being short all his life, with a youthful face besides, had made the man hypersensitive to babying — but Grantaire knew all too well that even the best-fortified psyche had its landmines. Maybe this hadn’t been such a great train of thought to verbalize? 

He shook off his concerns. Enjolras had never had any trouble telling Grantaire to shut up, after all. 

“Anyway,” he continued. “The intrepid princess analyzed the data, and what she found was so simple, so basic, that anybody could have figured it out centuries earlier if only they’d thought to ask around a bit: the distance between the clitoris and the vagina is inversely correlated to the ease with which one achieves orgasm. Shocker. And the princess, well, she was a self-described tèleclitoridienne: someone whose clit and vag were placed unhelpfully far apart. So what did she do? She found a surgeon and asked him to move her clit a little farther down.” He paused. “Keep in mind, this was in 1925. ” 

Enjolras sucked in a quick breath through his teeth, moving to guard his own harness-covered crotch with a protective hand. “Did it work?” 

“Alas, no,” said Grantaire. “But, as Combeferre would say, think of what she did for science!” 

“I don’t think it’s healthy to have that much of a commitment to science,” said Enjolras with a shudder. He squirmed a little, as if trying to dodge an imaginary scalpel. “Also, R, that story was horrific. Were you actively trying to kill the mood?” 

“Oh!” said Grantaire, a lightbulb going off. “I figured out why I was thinking about this!” 

“...Why,” said Enjolras tonelessly. 

“Because that distance thing is directly correlated to height!” said Grantaire, triumphant. He didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of salvaging this conversation, so he might as well blunder forward. “On short people everything’s closer together, you know? I was thinking you might be what she called a paraclitoridien. Which would mean it would be easier for me to give you orgasms. Assuming you want me around for more of them, which, let me just say, it is an honor and a privilege to even be nominated.” 

Enjolras levered himself up on one elbow so he could fix Grantaire with an exasperated look. It was maybe a little too early into whatever this was, Grantaire reminded himself, to hope for fond exasperation. “I can’t decide if that was endearing in its weirdness or just flat-out weird,” said Enjolras. 

“Ahh, but what’s life without a little mystery?” quipped Grantaire. One side of Enjolras’ mouth turned up briefly. 

Okay, now that was fond exasperation. 

“Mm, no, I’ve decided now,” announced Enjolras. He swung a leg over Grantaire’s stomach, then sat atop it, straddling Grantaire.

“And what was the verdict?” 

Enjolras tweaked Grantaire's nose. “The verdict is that you should shut up and kiss me until I can stop thinking about my goddamn clit.” 

Grantaire laughed, delighted. “A sentence I never in a million years expected to hear,” he said. “But of course. I am at your service.” 

He reached up for Enjolras and Enjolras came gladly, curling down until his t-shirt was brushing Grantaire’s chest and his still-hard (of course) cock was nestled against Grantaire’s mostly-softened one. 

They kissed at a pace far more sedate than before. It began with Enjolras gently pressing his lips to the corner of Grantaire’s mouth, then to every other part of it in turn, one cool, dry kiss at a time. When Enjolras finally showed mercy and began sucking on Grantaire’s lower lip, pulling it slowly between his teeth and exploring every inch of it with his tongue, Grantaire briefly wondered if Enjolras was trying to hypnotize him. Everything was so slow, so luxurious, so perfect: maybe time really had slowed down. 

Grantaire let his hands stroke down Enjolras’ sides until both palms found purchase on Enjolras’ ass, bare but for the wide straps of the harness. Grantaire realized with dull shock that this was the first time tonight he’d gotten his hands on it. He let his mouth relax under Enjolras’ wet, sucking kisses as he ghosted his fingertips over Enjolras’ curves, which were quite frankly impressive for someone so petite. Enjolras’ breath stuttered against Grantaire’s mouth when Grantaire dug his hands into the muscle. He kept squeezing and spreading, letting himself indulge in a measured, almost chaste exploration of Enjolras’ hips and upper thighs. Enjolras wasn’t even trying to kiss him anymore, which Grantaire counted as a bizarre sort of victory. 

“I hope having my hands on you feels half as good to you as it does to me,” said Grantaire in a low voice, as he and Enjolras breathed lightly against each other’s mouths, “but honestly, I kind of doubt it. I could touch you forever.” 

Enjolras leaned his forehead into Grantaire’s, a smile playing at the corner of his lips. “I thought I told you to shut up.” 

“You also told me to kiss you, but then you went and stopped for some reason,” Grantaire pointed out. “Was it because you needed to breathe? Or did something—distract you?” He worked his thumbs in under the straps at Enjolras’ waist and smiled in satisfaction when Enjolras dropped his head to Grantaire’s shoulder and whimpered quietly. 

“That feels so fucking good,” Enjolras mumbled as Grantaire started working his way up, his broad hands nearly spanning Enjolras’ slender back. “Fuck, R, y’have t’stop,” slurred Enjolras, his words muffled in Grantaire’s neck. “Or’m gonna fall asleep.” 

“Would that be so bad?” said Grantaire seriously, continuing his ministrations. “I wouldn’t mind if you wanted to fall asleep for a while. I like holding you.” 

He imagined he could feel Enjolras smile against his skin. 

“And then Ferre and Courf could find us like this,” added Grantaire brightly. His hands were now sweeping over Enjolras’ lower back in smooth, repetitive arcs. “That would be amazing. Imagine their faces! I can see it now: Courf pressed up against the window smiling like a maniac, giving us two thumbs up; Ferre politely turned away, but unable to resist sneaking glances over his shoulder due to sheer scientific curiosity—” 

Enjolras groaned and smacked Grantaire on the shoulder. 

“Really, all joking aside, you can go to sleep. It’s fine. I’m happy to use you as a human blanket,” said Grantaire, and he meant it. 

Enjolras struggled back up into a sitting position, shaking off Grantaire’s roaming hands. “No, I don’t want to sleep. Besides,” he said, fixing Grantaire with a very intense look, “I think there’s something I promised to give you.” 

Grantaire’s eyes widened. “Really? Are you sure?” 

“I suppose you’ll have to find out, won’t you,” said Enjolras. “Why don’t you get ready for me and we’ll see?” His voice had suddenly gone low again, bordering on sultry. It was also taking on that same commanding tone Enjolras had used when he’d ordered Grantaire up against the car, the one he’d used when he’d growled insults at the men in the alley. 

Grantaire felt an abrupt and overwhelming urge to expose his throat to properly acknowledge the presence of a superior predator. But he was already fully bared to Enjolras, fleshy underbelly uncovered and defenseless; he was already at Enjolras’ mercy. 

He’d always been at Enjolras’ mercy. 

“Okay,” he said huskily. “Hand me the lube?” 

Enjolras had to scramble off him and dig in the corner for the bottle, and when he had handed it over, he sat with his back up against the far wall of the car and his eyes trained on Grantaire. “Go on then,” he said in that same low, honeyed voice. “I want to watch. I’ve never gotten to watch.” 

Grantaire’s stomach was all butterflies. His chest cavity too. Also his throat, and apparently most of his limbs as well. He felt weak and watery all over, pinned by Enjolras’ stare like a bug on a card. 

“Grantaire,” said Enjolras sternly, when it became clear Grantaire was too nervous to move. “Open yourself up for me. Now.” 

Enjolras’ voice was heavy with command, and Grantaire reacted on instinct, popping the lube open one-handed and pouring too much on his fingers. He brought his dripping hand down to tease the rim of his hole, dipping in occasionally to stroke inside himself. He’d done very nearly the same thing in the shower only this morning — he’d wanted to be loose and empty and clean, just in case the right opportunity presented itself at Pride — and he hadn’t been able to stop himself thinking of Enjolras then either, even though trying to pretend Grantaire’s thick fingers were Enjolras’ slim ones had been stretching the limits of Grantaire’s imagination. He never could have anticipated this: Enjolras’ steady gaze on him, Enjolras’ hand on his ankle, Enjolras’ brow furrowed in concentration as his eyes followed the movement of Grantaire’s hands. 

“Pull your knees up,” ordered Enjolras. Grantaire obeyed without thinking. Something knobbly and plastic was digging into his back through the furniture blanket, but at the moment he didn’t give a flying fuck. Enjolras must have been anticipating it, though, because he stripped off his hoodie and balled it up to push it under Grantaire’s hips like a pillow. “Spread them wider,” Enjolras went on shamelessly. “Let me see you.”

He had straightened up as he watched Grantaire, resting a hand at the base of the strap-on. He wasn’t rocking or pushing, just maintaining a firm pressure against himself. Grantaire wanted to ask him to stroke the shaft, just for the look of the thing, just so he could imagine Enjolras’ light touch on his own skin, but he didn’t want to break the spell he himself was under, this magical new reality where he could stop thinking and just do whatever Enjolras told him to do. 

His pulse throbbed between his legs as he alternated between rubbing two fingers further into his own ass and scissoring them apart near his entrance. He was spread wide and exposed, trembling, air ghosting over all his most sensitive parts: he was offering himself up to Enjolras wholly and completely. The vulnerability was impossibly heady. It was how his heart felt around Enjolras, extended to his body, and even if Enjolras had no idea what this meant to Grantaire it still felt unutterably right. 

“Enjolras,” whined Grantaire. “I’m ready, I swear I’m ready, please.” 

Enjolras took a shaky breath. “Then tell me what you want.” 

For a moment Grantaire thought Enjolras just wanted to hear Grantaire begging to be fucked, but then he understood. 

“Your cock,” he said. “I want your cock in me, please, please, Enjolras, I need you to fuck me open, I need to come on your cock, I need you in me now,” he pleaded. He sounded slightly ridiculous to his own ears, half-crazed and repetitive, but Enjolras’ bladelike smile was fierce and his luminous blue eyes were bright in the darkness of the car; Grantaire figured he must’ve said something right. He was still pumping his fingers into himself, but his hand was starting to cramp up. God, he needed this so badly—couldn’t wait one goddamn moment longer— “I swear to God if you don’t get your cock in me right the fuck now—” 

“Stop that,” said Enjolras, with the same inflection he used for Shut up. “You’re not the one giving the orders here. Take your fingers out and wipe them off, then get the lube again.” 

Grantaire shuddered and hurried to do as he’d been told. His fingers looked clean of everything but lube and sweat, so he wiped them on the furniture blanket. 

Enjolras had torn open one of Courfeyrac’s condoms and was meticulously rolling it onto his dick. Grantaire wasn’t sure if it was for some obscure safe-sex reason or for easier lubrication or just for the experience, but regardless, the sight of it had his nerves strung tight with anticipation. 

“Lube me up,” said Enjolras, knee-walking forward, and Grantaire did so eagerly, slopping lube into his palm and relishing the slide of Enjolras’ wet cock in his fist. 

Then there was nothing left to do, no boxes left to check, and Enjolras, all five tiny perfect feet of him, was looming impossibly large between Grantaire’s open legs. 

Enjolras guided the head of his cock to Grantaire’s hole, brushing the slick tip over the opening until Grantaire whimpered pathetically with need, and then Enjolras finally, finally pressed inside. Grantaire moaned at the slow drag of it, the overwhelming fullness, the inside-out-and-backwards feeling that would never stop being deliciously wrong. 

“Okay?” said Enjolras in his normal voice, one hand still wrapped around the base of the dildo. 

“Yeah,” said Grantaire. “Yeah, you’re good, just pull out now so we can add lube.” 

Enjolras’ eyes sought his, worried. “Did we not use enough earlier?” 

Grantaire smiled crookedly. “I don’t know where you’re coming from with this, Enjolras, but ideally it’s a several-step process.” 

Enjolras looked a little surprised, then his eyes flicked up and to his left, going momentarily distant as he remembered something. “That explains a lot,” he said under his breath. He shook his head as if to clear it. “Okay. What do I do?” 

“I thought you were the one giving the orders,” said Grantaire innocently.

“Yes. I’m ordering you to stop being an ass and tell me what to do so that I won’t hurt you,” said Enjolras. He lowered his head to Grantaire’s chest, licked briefly over one nipple, and then bit it. Hard. Grantaire yelped and tried to squirm away, Enjolras’ cock still unmoving inside him, and Enjolras grinned wickedly. “So that I won’t hurt you, except when I want to,” he clarified, and Grantaire very nearly passed out. 

“O-okay, got it,” he said unsteadily. “Just, just pull out, let me put on more lube, push in again, and we’ll do that a, a few more times until it’s all spread around and deep, oh fuck, deep enough—” 

Enjolras was experimenting with twisting the dildo slightly from side to side, making the curved head press into Grantaire in new places. Because Enjolras was evil. “F-fuck, Enjolras, wait!” Grantaire said desperately. 

Looking reluctant, Enjolras pulled out, letting Grantaire hastily drizzle more lube on the head of his dick so that he could thrust back inside Grantaire. They repeated the process twice more. Enjolras seemed almost hypnotized. 

“You have no idea how amazing it is to see a cock attached to me disappearing into someone else,” he said with not a little wonder in his voice.

Grantaire noted the use of “someone else,” instead of “you,” and sternly reminded himself of how they’d stumbled into this in the first place, recalling the slight edge of hysteria in Enjolras’ voice when he’d pulled away from that first frantic kiss to say furiously, “Guess what, I’m a fucking guy, so you’re bisexual!” 

“Well, I can’t see much of anything,” Grantaire said as lightly as he could, “but I know it’s starting to feel pretty amazing.” 

“Yeah?” said Enjolras, still staring at where he was slowly, oh-so-slowly pumping his hips into Grantaire. “Good. Because if you’re ready now, I’d like to fuck you on my cock until your legs can’t hold you up anymore.” His thrusts began, almost imperceptibly, to pick up speed. “If you’re amenable.” 

So amenable,” breathed Grantaire. “So fucking amenable, you have no idea.” 

“I’m glad to hear that,” said Enjolras, back to using that low, dangerously seductive voice. “Now put your hands up behind you, up against the armrests of the front seats.” 

Grantaire obediently raised his hands, groping behind himself for whatever Enjolras was talking about. Enjolras leaned all his weight on one arm and used his free hand to guide Grantaire to where the armrests in question were bolted to the foremost seats, arranging Grantaire’s hands so that his thumbs curled toward the top of each armrest while his fingers were pressed flat up against their undersides. 

“Perfect,” said Enjolras, his voice dark and rich and satisfied. “Now keep them there. And don’t you fucking dare move them.” 

“Oh fuck,” said Grantaire weakly. 

“You don’t have to keep your eyes open,” Enjolras murmured, “but I want to hear every single noise you make, loud and clear, and if I catch you muffling anything, there will be consequences. If you move your hands, there will likewise be consequences. Understand?” 

Yes,” moaned Grantaire. “Fuck, shit, fuck, Enjolras, please, you’re killing me here—” 

Enjolras grinned, then wrapped his free arm under Grantaire’s knee, pressing it even further back so he had a better view of his own hard, glistening cock where it was teasing in and out of Grantaire’s hole. 

Grantaire had just enough time to register that Enjolras’ angle of entry had changed somewhat before Enjolras began pounding into him, glancing against his prostate with nearly every thrust, and Grantaire lost all capacity for rational thought. 

There was absolutely no danger of him muffling a single one of his noises because he was barely aware he was making them. Someone was moaning, wanton and loud, and it was probably him, but what did he care? All that mattered was Enjolras unmaking him with thrust after thrust, melting his spine and most likely his brain as well. 

No finesse, no strategic symphony of sensations, no tender kisses. This was just fucking, raw and primal, needy and rough and shameless. Grantaire had never felt so, so owned. He’d thought he was vulnerable before, fingering himself under Enjolras’ hot-eyed gaze, but that was nothing compared to this: his hands shaking where Enjolras had placed them behind his head, his legs shaking where Enjolras was holding him open, his voice shaking where Enjolras was urging him to be loud. He was shattering against Enjolras, losing himself completely to the intensity, the intimacy, the insanity. 

“Yes,” Enjolras was hissing as he hammered into Grantaire. “This. This was what I wanted. I wanted to watch you fall apart under me. I want you to come on my cock, Grantaire, what do I have to do to make you come?” 

Grantaire struggled to string a single thought together, his lips opening and closing around sounds that refused to leave his throat, and Enjolras laughed breathlessly.

“Yes,” he said again, fierce bordering on savage. “Did I fuck your words away, Grantaire? Did I finally shut you up?” 

Enjolras was perfect and brutal and inescapable, and Grantaire could not speak, his mind fragmented into a million pieces. The ceaseless friction had worn away some of the lube and each successive thrust felt sharper, rougher, more painful, but no pain had ever been more welcome.

“Bite me,” Grantaire managed at last, sweeping together the shards of his splintered mind. Enjolras bared his teeth in a snarl, thinking Grantaire was talking back; his thrusts got, impossibly, even harsher, and Grantaire wailed, “No, Enjolras, bite me, please—” and then Enjolras understood. He kept up his improbable pace, bruising Grantaire from the inside out, but slowly, jerkily lowered himself down to Grantaire’s chest, where he latched onto the nipple that was still sensitive from the earlier bite, sucking it relentlessly until Grantaire very thoroughly regretted ever saying he didn’t have sensitive nipples. It was like there was a white-hot wire running from between his legs to this point on his chest creating an incredible feedback loop where pleasure fed pain and pain fed pleasure. 

Then Enjolras lifted his head a fraction above Grantaire’s heaving chest and said “Now, Grantaire, come,” before biting down sharply the same way he had before. 

Grantaire came apart. 

The force of his orgasm tore an inhuman sound from somewhere deep inside him. His eyes rolled back into his head and he saw white. It seemed to last forever, Enjolras slowing the roll of his hips to fuck Grantaire through each wave, leaning awkwardly to one side so that he had a hand free to milk Grantaire to the very last drop. 

For Grantaire, opening his eyes when it was all over felt like waking up from one amazing dream only to find himself in another: Enjolras was still buried inside him, and had stretched out a hand to cup his cheek. 

“Grantaire,” said Enjolras wonderingly. “Are you crying?” 

Grantaire blinked. Then he blinked again. He could feel a clean wetness washing away the slight sting of melted sunscreen that had been bothering him since that afternoon. “My eyes are watering,” he said loftily. “There’s a difference.” 

“If you say so,” said Enjolras uncertainly. “Are you sure you’re okay?” 

“Oh my god, Enjolras, come here,” said Grantaire, and he gathered Enjolras into his arms until Enjolras was slumped forward onto Grantaire’s broad chest, his shirt hopelessly smeared with Grantaire’s cum and his dick still balls-deep in Grantaire’s ass.   

“Your heart is beating really hard,” said Enjolras. His ear was pressed to Grantaire’s breastbone, which was about as far up as he could reach, given their respective positions. 

“Yeah,” said Grantaire. “Gimme a minute. Fuck, that was intense,” he said to the ceiling.

“And I didn’t hurt you?” 

“You didn’t hurt me, except when I wanted you to,” said Grantaire, smiling. 

“Good,” said Enjolras decisively. He started tracing an aimless design onto Grantaire’s chest. “You were very good. You didn’t move your hands at all, and…” He trailed off. 

“And?” prompted Grantaire.

“And you made amazing noises,” mumbled Enjolras. 

“Why thank you,” said Grantaire grandly. “I aim to please. Or to irritate, or to entertain, or to provoke, as the case may be, but in this particular instance definitely to please.” He hesitantly moved a hand up to Enjolras’ hair and gave it an experimental stroke. Enjolras hummed, so Grantaire did it again. “What were you planning to do to me if I broke your rules, anyway?” 

“Wasn’t sure,” said Enjolras. “It was a three-way tie between nipple-pinching, hair-pulling, and slapping you.” 

Grantaire shuddered pleasantly. “Where’d all that come from, anyway?” he asked. “Not that it seemed out of character for you to be all dominant — far from it — but until today I genuinely wasn’t sure you had a sex drive at all. I mean, me not knowing wouldn’t mean much,” he added hastily, “but I’m pretty sure most of our mutual friends didn’t know either.”

Enjolras was silent. 

“Sorry, you obviously don’t have to say anything if you’d rather not,” said Grantaire with as much sincerity as he could muster. “Just, you know, that was impressive. The domming. Just enough to make it amazing, not so much we really had to talk about it. Very natural. So it seemed like you must have done it before.” 

“My libido and my experience with dominance and submission have always been separate,” said Enjolras carefully. “And I don’t want to get into specifics about the domming because it’s not my secret to tell. But essentially, I have a friend who likes submitting every so often, nothing extreme, nothing sexual, nothing too structured, it just helps hi—them relax.” 

Immediately Grantaire knew Enjolras was talking about Feuilly. Not only would it explain Feuilly’s often unusually close relationship with Enjolras, but it was also undeniably true that if anybody needed to relax, it was the guy who more often than not worked 80-hour weeks. 

Of course Grantaire would never let on that he knew. “Fair enough,” was all he said. 

“Speaking of things we’ve done before, you seemed pretty familiar with anal sex for a guy who was ready to write off all his guy-on-guy experiences as a phase,” Enjolras pointed out. 

“You say that like only men have anal sex,” countered Grantaire. “You remember Flo? Did ballroom with me? We dated for like six months in senior year?”

Enjolras made an inquisitive hum of assent. “Mm-hm?” 

“Seriously into pegging,” said Grantaire. “Though her dildoes tended to be, like, neon green or eggplant purple. And she liked it pretty exclusively doggy style.”

“I did not need to know that,” said Enjolras in an aggrieved tone. 

“She wouldn’t mind you knowing,” said Grantaire, deliberately missing the point. “Anyway, face to face was new for me. Though I’m not sure it counts as face to face when you only come up to here,” he added fondly, patting Enjolras on the head. 

“Hey,” protested Enjolras weakly. 

“I’ve tried anal once or twice with a few girlfriends since then,” Grantaire went on. He was hoping that if he opened up enough about his own sex life, Enjolras would feel inspired to do the same. Though honestly Grantaire also just really liked talking about his sex life. “Both giving and receiving. But, uh,” and here was the crux of the matter, “I’ve never done anal with a guy before. Fingering, yeah, but never full-on anal.” 

Enjolras seemed to be holding his breath. “Well,” he said. “Now you have.” 

“Now I have,” agreed Grantaire, and Enjolras breathed out. 

“Would you do it again?” asked Enjolras, and Grantaire couldn’t stop himself from stiffening. There was no way Enjolras hadn’t felt it. “Anal sex with a guy, I mean,” said Enjolras in a strangely small voice. 

Grantaire tried not to panic. “Depends on the guy,” he said. “I’ve never actually dated a guy, and I’ve only done anal with people I was dating, so.” 

“So tonight was… an exception?” said Enjolras. He sounded like he was trying very hard to keep any and all information out of his inflection. Unfortunately for Grantaire, it was working.

A laundry list of possible responses fluttered through Grantaire’s exhausted brain. Yes, tonight was an exception. Sorry, tonight was a terrible mistake. Honestly, tonight was a fucking miracle.

Tonight was Pride.

In the end, that was what made his decision for him. I shouldn’t have to be ashamed of who I love, he thought. I don’t want to have to hide any longer. Whatever happens.

“Tonight was wishful thinking,” he said.

Enjolras digested that. “You mean you wish… you wish we were dating?” 

“Yeah,” said Grantaire simply. He was glad he couldn’t see Enjolras’ face, but he was uncomfortably aware that he’d chosen to make his confession while Enjolras was still technically inside him, which, while it probably didn’t feel like that much to Enjolras, definitely felt like something to Grantaire. 

And wasn’t that an appropriate metaphor.  

“I thought… I thought you were like Courfeyrac,” said Enjolras. He sounded confused, lost. 

“Pansexual? Jewish? Obsessed with Beyoncé?” Grantaire said, fighting to keep his voice normal.

“I mean I thought you were up for having sex with me because you didn’t think having sex with someone you know has to make things weird,” said Enjolras. He said it tentatively, almost like a question. “You are aware that you talk about sex all the time? You come off as pretty relaxed about it.” 

“You mean I sound like I have more one-night stands and fuckbuddies than I actually do,” surmised Grantaire. “Yeah, no, I’m just a creative storyteller. The same experience can sound like a dozen different hookups if you emphasize different things every time.” 

“Oh,” said Enjolras in that same strange small voice. 

He lapsed into an inscrutable silence.

Grantaire tried to give him some time to process, but eventually he just couldn’t take it anymore.

“Enjolras,” he said. Enjolras’ whole body jerked at the sound of his name and Grantaire flinched. “Enjolras, please, tell me what’s going on in your head.”

“I’m revisiting everything I thought I knew about our relationship,” said Enjolras. He sounded a bit dazed. “How long?” 

“How long have I wanted us to be dating?” asked Grantaire. Enjolras nodded against Grantaire’s chest. “Do I have to answer that? Does it really matter? It’s been a long time, okay?” he said hysterically. 

From the very first time we spoke, he didn’t say. 

“It does matter, Grantaire,” said Enjolras, a little angrily. “Look at me.” He pushed himself up on his arms so that he could look Grantaire in the eye. “I want to know how much of what I thought was pure hostility was just a smokescreen to hide your feelings, and how much of what I thought was you intentionally wasting my time playing Devil’s Advocate was pigtail pulling. I think that matters.” 

“I hope you’re leaving room in there for genuine disagreement, Enjolras, because if you can’t remember any of the times I’ve helped you pull your head out of your ass we’re going to have a problem.” 

Enjolras just looked at him.

“I was purely hostile to you for a full two weeks after that time you said rape survivors had an obligation to Justice to report their rape,” Grantaire admitted quietly.

Enjolras gaped at him. “That was—that was when we were sophomores. That was six years ago. I was nineteen!”

“And I was purely hostile for about ten minutes after that time you said beauty was a social construct and we could rise above the narrow constraints of conventional Western beauty standards,” Grantaire went on. 

“Grantaire, wasn’t that… wasn’t that was the day we met? The first time we spoke?”

“I’m flattered you remember, Apollo,” said Grantaire bitterly, unable to help himself. 

“I asked you not to call me that tonight,” said Enjolras in a strained voice. He actually looked hurt. 

“Sorry, Enjolras,” Grantaire said. He tried to mean it. “I’m sorry. I am. I shouldn’t have.” He tilted his head back to the blankets; he couldn’t look at Enjolras one second more. Enjolras, wonder of wonders, actually laid his head back on Grantaire’s chest, and Grantaire decided to take that as a good sign. 

“Look,” he said gruffly. “I don’t bear you any ill will just because you've never thought of me that way. I’ve been sitting on this shit a long time and I’d like to think I’ve got it under control. I’m not gonna cry friendzone, I’m not that particular brand of asshole. If I sound a little bitter it’s only because I’m that way by nature. I’m not going to follow you around with sad puppy eyes until you love me. I’ll even stop flirting with you, if it makes you uncomfortable now that you know there’s something behind it.”

Enjolras didn’t react. Grantaire sighed, watching the rise and fall of his chest move Enjolras up and down like some sort of human buoy. “I just like you, okay? I like you a lot, and yes, I’m insanely attracted to you and watching you getting all fired up and commanding turns me on like nothing and no one else, but I also like listening to you talk about everyday things, and I like the way your mind works, and I love how passionate you are. I enjoy being around you and I’m sick of pretending I don’t. I had fun tonight and I’d like to do it again, minus the spilled beer and the drunken douchebags and plus some good food and a real bed. Maybe that sounds crazy to you, given how often we disagree, but that’s the way it is.” 

When Enjolras finally spoke, Grantaire could barely hear him, and when he did make out the words he wasn’t sure he’d heard right: “I like listening to you talk too,” Enjolras had said. "I like watching you make impossible connections."

Grantaire held his breath. 

“And I had fun tonight as well,” said Enjolras, a touch louder now. “Minus the spilled beer and the drunken douchebags. You’re funny, when we’re not arguing.” Grantaire imagined he could feel it against his chest when Enjolras raised his eyebrows. “And sometimes even when we are arguing.” 

“I’m glad you can admit it,” said Grantaire magnanimously. He couldn’t tell where this was heading. Was Enjolras going to acknowledge a bunch of Grantaire’s more likable traits in a hamhanded attempt to boost Grantaire’s self-esteem before the inevitable rejection? Or was Enjolras working up to his own mirrored declaration of love?

Grantaire was becoming increasingly convinced that Enjolras himself had no idea where this was going, and that was somehow the most terrifying option of all: that Enjolras really could go either way. They were at a crossroads, floating in some liminal space where the multiverse would roll the dice and Grantaire could just as easily end up in either a world where Enjolras gave him a chance as he could in a world where Enjolras wrote him off forever. Hadn’t he thought to himself earlier tonight that it seemed like everything was slowing down, like he and Enjolras had stepped outside the march of time?

He was so caught up in his thoughts that it took him completely by surprise when Enjolras said, “And I really liked having sex with you," in an even louder voice. Then he burst out angrily, "Tonight was by far the best sex I’ve ever had!”

Angrily?

“Um… I’m sorry?” offered Grantaire, puzzled.

“No, it's just—ugh, forget I said anything, I don't want to trade tragic backstories right now,” said Enjolras dismissively. “I just wanted to say that I really felt like me, being intimate with you, and that made for a refreshing experience. There's nothing to be sorry about."

“Awesome,” said Grantaire. “I’m glad. I’m not sure I could ever actually regret being the best lay of your life. 

“Don’t you dare.”

They lay there, breathing in sync, for what felt like an eternity. Somehow this silence was more bearable than the one before, even though nothing had been resolved.

“Okay,” said Enjolras at long last. “I think… I think I do want to do this again.” 

He was still talking half into Grantaire’s chest.

“Spend time together just the two of us, I mean,” Enjolras clarified. “Not just the sex. Though definitely sex too. I think I’d like to get to know you when you’re not trying to chase me away and get my attention at the same time.” 

Grantaire blushed. “Yeah, uh,” he said, retroactively embarrassed for years of past conduct, “I’d like that too. I’d like that a hell of a lot. You make me so nervous, you have no idea.” 

“And are you nervous now?” asked Enjolras. There was a hint of a tease in his voice.

“I’m not going to lie, yeah, I’m nervous,” admitted Grantaire. He smiled. “But I think this time I’m more excited than nervous.”

“I’ll take it,” announced Enjolras. “Now sit up, I want to kiss you and I can’t reach because we’re still joined at the crotch for some reason.”

"It'd make more sense for you to sit up and un-join us first," Grantaire pointed out.

Enjolras did as Grantaire had suggested, taking care to hold on to the condom at the base of the strap-on as he pulled out. He rolled it off and disposed of it in a shadowed corner that presumably contained a trash bag, then fished around on the floor for the wet wipes. He kissed Grantaire on the nose before taking a wipe to Grantaire's stomach.

"Courf doesn't keep extra shirts in this Magic Bang Bus, does he?" asked Grantaire, eyeing the stain on Enjolras' tee. 

"I don't think so?" hazarded Enjolras. "Knowing him, he'd be fine shirtless. I'll just zip up my hoodie." 

"Smart," said Grantaire, and then he concentrated determinedly on pulling up his boxers as Enjolras divested himself of his ruined shirt. Now they each had one item of clothing, and they cuddled up to each other on the moonlit side of the car, sated and happy.

Enjolras was still wearing the strap-on.

"Are you going to take it off?" asked Grantaire. "You could switch to just those boxer-briefs with the packer, right?"

"I want to wear it a bit longer," said Enjolras simply. "I like it."

"Okay," said Grantaire, unperturbed. He liked it too. "Hey, I was thinking," he said. "If we're going to go on a date, we should plan it now, because thanks to you, I don't have a phone."

"Maybe our date can involve a trip to the Apple store," said Enjolras thoughtfully. Then he blanched. "Oh, fuck. My phone. I forgot to charge my phone!"

"We never called anybody!" said Grantaire. "Shit, they're gonna think something happened to us—"

It was at this point they were interrupted by an ear-piercing shriek as a shadow fell over them.

Standing directly outside the window, blocking their moonbeam, was Courfeyrac, and he was pointing to Enjolras' crotch with an expression of deepest betrayal. "You defiled Donald!" he exclaimed through the glass. "How could you?" Then, as if unwilling to look on such treachery any longer, he hid his head in his hands and turned away, only to sneak a peek over his shoulder five seconds later.

Combeferre, who was of course right behind him, pressed his face to the glass to see in and smiled at both of them. "Were you safe?" he asked, his voice muffled. 

"Yes, Dad, we used a condom," said Grantaire.

Combeferre gave them two huge thumbs up.

"Nothing ever turns out the way I think it will," said Grantaire. He tightened his arms around Enjolras, pulling him closer.

And thank God for that, he thought.