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now my life gets better every letter that you write me

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“Combeferre, you’re sure we can’t take our emails off the Amis website?” Enjolras huffed as he set his phone down.

Combeferre laughed. “Enjolras, you know that’s impractical. People have to be able to get a hold of you. You have to make connections . You’re a politician, you know this.”

Enjolras frowned. Ferre was right and Enjolras knew it, but that wasn’t going to stop him from complaining. “These are not the connections I was planning on making,” he grumbled. Combeferre gave Enjolras nothing more than an eyeroll in response before turning back to his paper.

Enjolras understood the importance of making himself accessible, he really did. Especially since he was the figurehead of Les Amis de l’ABC, the political activist group he and his friends Courfeyrac and Combeferre were trying to start at their college. Still, the purpose of making his email public was to let people with legitimate questions and concerns reach him, not to encourage strangers to anonymously barrage him with compliments about his hair.

There was really only one anonymous stranger, someone who’d repeatedly sent him flirts through Enjolras’s (clearly labeled “ business ”) email. Someone who went by pylades32@gmail.com.

This mystery sender had started with small flirtations, short and simple declarations of Enjolras’s apparent beauty. Soon enough, Enjolras’s inbox was cluttered with silly single-sentence emails like “ur hair shines beautifully in the sunlight, apollo,” or “your voice could lead even the most stubborn men into battle after you.” (Seemingly all emails came complete with incorrect spelling and/or capitalization, much to Enjolras’s vexation.) The emails came sporadically, like they were clipped streams of consciousness, bursts of inspiration. Sometimes a day or two would go by without a single email. Other times Enjolras would get eight emails within the same fifteen minutes. The emails’ infrequency was part of what made them so potent - it felt less like someone trying to get a rise out of him and more like someone genuinely complimenting him.

About two weeks into the whole charade, Enjolras was just beginning to get used to the mystery sender. That was until he woke up one morning to find an email two pages long from the mystery sender, an entire poem praising Enjolras’s “godly stature” that was sent at 3 AM the night before. Enjolras read through the whole thing quickly, ignoring the surges of flattery that spiked in his chest upon reading it. (The emails may have been annoying and taken up valuable space in Enjolras’s inbox, but the mystery sender was very good at what they did. Enjolras was infamous for never blushing, but the mystery sender’s poem had accomplished the impossible.) The composition of the poetry was… interesting , resembling a casual text message more than an actual poem, but it was almost charming. Almost.

Poetry and prose alike filled Enjolras’s inbox, but Enjolras paid it all no mind. Sure, he read them all, but he never graced the mystery sender with a response. He wasn’t in politics to make friends (or acquire lovers, or whatever Mystery Sender was trying to do), so he found no reason to lead the sender on. That being said, the emails were actually extremely flattering when they weren’t stupid and annoying, and who was Enjolras to put a cork in the mystery sender’s creativity? So while he never directly acknowledged Mystery Sender, he never sent them an email telling them to cease and desist either.

Soon after their short epic about Enjolras, Mystery Sender’s flirtations came interspersed with actual ideas. Enjolras had just given a public speech for the Amis, one meant to spread awareness about women’s equality and safety on campus. The Amis thought it had gone pretty well, until the following night when Enjolras received an email. From pylades32@gmail.com. Great.

It was short, barely a paragraph. Enjolras scanned it and saw no mention of his “beautiful arms” or “enchanting voice.” He furrowed his brow and read.

“my dear apollo,” the letter started, using the infuriating nickname that Mystery Sender had taken to referring to Enjolras as. “your speech yesterday was passionate, fiery, alive. your eyes sparkled as you spoke, moving the audience to truly believe in what you were talking about.” There was the flattery Enjolras was familiar with. He pursed his lips and kept reading. “it was a sight to behold, truly, but i cant help but wonder - why are you , a straight cis white male, speaking out for women? shouldn’t you give that honor to the actual group being oppressed?”

Enjolras set his phone down for a moment to process what he’d just read. All he could manage was shock. Him, a heterosexual? Seriously? The mystery sender was observant enough to understand both the delicate curve of Enjolras’s lips and the intricate angle of his politics, but they couldn’t figure out that Enjolras wasn’t straight? Really, Enjolras expected better of them.

Still, Mystery Sender had a point, and for once it wasn’t Enjolras’s “angelic grace” or whatever the fuck. It was politics , something Enjolras could understand and engage in. Maybe this was what led him to actually reply to their message.

Enjolras spent longer than he’d like to admit drafting a response, spending what ended up being hours writing a three page statement for the mystery sender. He came up with three main points that he structured his paper around: a.) he was not a heterosexual, thank you very much, b.) he was acutely aware of his privilege and did his best to acknowledge it whenever possible, using it to his advantage to further the awareness of the issues at hand, and c.) most ABC events about gender equality did feature women speakers, but their friend Eponine couldn’t make it to the event in question so Enjolras had to take over. Once Enjolras was finally satisfied with his response, it was two in the morning. Fuck. His eyelids were heavy as he finished proofreading and hit the send button.

The response came almost immediately, a simple, “he speaks!” Enjolras could somehow hear the mystery sender’s tone, equal parts sleepy condescendence and triumphant joy. Enjolras groaned. He climbed into bed wearily, setting his phone down on the nightstand beside him. He couldn’t help feeling like the mystery sender had won , and that feeling sucked . Enjolras hated losing and didn’t want to give Mystery Sender the satisfaction of knowing that they’d bested him. Still, before he could fall asleep Enjolras reached back for his phone, sending Eponine a quick text to see if she’d be ready to speak by the next event. Not because of Mystery Sender. Just, you know. To make sure.

A new system emerged from Enjolras’s first response: Enjolras would go out and give a speech, to which Mystery Sender would respond to with critiques and contradicting viewpoints. Enjolras would then take their opposition and use it to make his own platform stronger. A particularly heated subject of this debate system happened to be Enjolras’s sexuality, the thing he’d been so adamant to proclaim in his first response. He once came back from an event about homelessness in the queer community to find three consecutive emails from Mystery Sender.

“apollo, my sun, you do know how flat you come across when speaking about gay rights, don’t you?” Enjolras huffed upon reading the first message, but whether it was at the compliment or the insult he was unsure.

The next message had dropped the eloquent vernacular, a blunt, “seriously dude, you look like a dick up there. like some straight guy who’s speaking over the people who need to be heard. and ur not.”

The last message read, “im not telling you to come out, but we both know that ur being held back from saying what u wanna say. u look like a Straight Ally™ instead of someone who can first handedly speak up abt whats going on inside our community.” Enjolras exhaled. When Mystery Sender decided to give a shit, they could be devastating in their criticism.

Enjolras formulated an answer, typing back, “Being bi isn’t the main focus of my campaign. It shouldn’t influence my politics at all. People shouldn’t care about my personal life, they should care about my policies.” Even Enjolras knew that his reply was weak.

Mystery Sender replied swiftly. “hey i mean thats u bud im not forcing you into anything. but we both know that what the people should care abt and what they actually care abt are two different things. just saying.” Enjolras sighed, shaking his head and putting his phone down. He had more important things to do than respond to criticizing emails from a person he’d never even met before.

 

A month passed with this feedback system in place, and Enjolras grew accustomed to it. The mystery sender had become a valuable (if not overly-teasing) aspect of Enjolras’s writing and campaigning process. Enjolras could admit at least that much.

With the push Mystery Sender had put on his politics piled onto the normal push of his classes, Enjolras found himself going to the library more often. The windows of the library filled it with bright natural light, making it a nice change of scenery from Enjolras’s dim dorm room. Sure, Enjolras might have been doing the same soul sucking work he’d be doing alone in his bedroom, but in the library he felt a little less like a bitter recluse and more like a functioning, productive human being.

It also didn’t hurt that the boy who sat across from Enjolras’s usual library table wasn’t painful to look at.

Enjolras had never talked to the kid, usually sticking to his own books and laptop while the stranger doodled in his notebook. Enjolras sat alone at a long table, bordered by shelves of books, and the nice looking kid sat at the table that mirrored Enjolras’s across the aisle of the library. The two probably never would have interacted beyond furtive glances had Enjolras not had a little habit, an inability to filter his own actions as he wrote a paper. Basically, any time he was writing and got stuck or he realized how pretentious he sounded or encountered anything that inhibited his progress, Enjolras made his frustration visual (and at times audible), regardless of whether or not he was in public. He’d drop his head into his hands or run his fingers distractedly through his hair or sometimes just outright groan at how fucking impossible his assignment was. The habit was noticeable, almost impossible to not notice actually, but Enjolras didn’t care. When he was writing, all of his brainpower was devoted to getting his ideas out before they dissolved. He couldn’t divert any energy into censoring himself.

So of course the boy sitting across from him picked up on Enjolras’s habit. Enjolras’s “lack of respect for others working around him,” as some called it, usually drove most people away from him when he worked. But not this boy.

No, this motherfucker would laugh at Enjolras, would actually fucking giggle at Enjolras’s hardships from across the room. Seriously .

Enjolras knew he wasn’t imagining this shit, he’d checked. The first time he heard the boy’s laughter he hadn’t even acknowledged it. There was no reason in Enjolras’s mind for the boy to be laughing at him: Enjolras hadn’t done anything funny, the two hadn’t been talking about anything, and really they’d barely even made eye contact before. But as Enjolras kept lamenting over his Government and Politics paper, the boy’s laughter kept filling the silence of the library.

Eventually Enjolras put the two events together - could his over dramatic reactions be the cause of this kid’s giggling? Surely not, surely there had to be someone texting the boy at the same time as Enjolras banged his head repeatedly on the desk, or maybe he was just really amused by whatever he was drawing, or maybe…

As Enjolras created a list of excuses in his head, he watched the boy out of the corner of his eye. Slowly, he corroborated the list in his head with the evidence before him. No, he didn’t have his phone out, no, he wasn’t holding a quiet conversation with another person across the library, no, he wasn’t reading out of some really funny joke book he’d found. Enjolras studied the man in front of him, trying to figure out if this little shit was actually laughing at him. Although all evidence pointed to yes, the cute guy’s a fucking asshole , Enjolras just wasn’t convinced. Until the cute guy looked up from his sketchbook and caught Enjolras’s eye. Shit.

Enjolras expected the boy to freak out, or for him to be affronted, or literally anything other than what he did. This kid, this fucking kid smirked at Enjolras, he smirked and winked before going back to his sketchbook. What the fuck?

However offputting that event was, it was the first step to Enjolras’s habit becoming a sort of shared correspondence. Enjolras would express his exasperation with grandiose gestures and pointed looks and the boy would giggle at him, making him feel just a tiny bit better. Soon enough Enjolras cut out the middleman and shot the distressed looks directly at the boy, which he’d return with either a reassuring (and cute, dear lord) smile or a look of equal disdain for the world. Their daily exchange was either one of mutual self hatred or shared, suppressed smiles. Enjolras appreciated it - it was a reminder that while college sucked for him, it sucked for everybody else too. They all suffered together; they were united by it.

It became sort of an unspoken routine, Enjolras and the boy shooting each other looks and laughing at one another from across the library. A solid week and a half went by like that, meaning every day for ten days the two went to the library to study and keep up their silent conversation. Neither of them had ever shown up to the library that regularly before, and likely wouldn’t have started had it not been for each other. Surely Enjolras’s grades would soon thank him for all the studying time.

After a week and a half, the mystery boy brought coffee. Enjolras was shocked. Not because the boy didn’t usually bring coffee, Enjolras had actually noticed that the boy had a coffee with him at seemingly all times. No, Enjolras was shocked because the boy had two coffees. And he just so happened to be right in front of Enjolras, holding out one of the coffees for him to take and smiling his infectious smile.

Enjolras looked at the coffee cup being offered to him. The boy had tried, and Enjolras truly appreciated the effort, but the coffee in front of him was definitely not his usual order. The coffee cup was just plain paper with a brown protective sleeve around it, not the plastic (and shamefully capitalistic) Starbucks cup Enjolras was used to. Somehow the cup felt fitting to the boy’s personality, wholesome and gritty and real. But the disgusting smell of the black coffee jarred Enjolras out of his reflection because it was coffee Enjolras, stop reading so heavily into it. Also, it was black coffee . Enjolras held back a shudder.

See, Enjolras enjoyed what could be referred to as “girl coffee,” if one was in the business of perpetuating meaningless gender norms. Basically he was all about the hippie organic fair trade shit, piled high with cream and sugar and whip cream and whatever else you could fucking cram into it. Why should I drink something that tastes horrible when it could taste like a blissful dream? he asked himself. Until he found a reason, he was planning to stay away from hurting himself with black coffee for all eternity.

But with the cute boy standing before him with a few strays of dark curls in his eyes and such a delicate expression of hope and eagerness on his face, Enjolras couldn’t refuse. The boy had actually gone out and bought him a coffee just because he wanted to. How was he supposed to know that Enjolras liked his coffee to be lighter in color than the men who were currently controlling the government? (Okay, maybe not that light, but Enjolras’s point still stood.)

He accepted the coffee graciously, placing it beside his laptop without taking a sip. Enjolras turned back to his laptop, but the boy lingered at the table. It took Enjolras a moment to realize that the boy hadn’t left, but once he did his quickly mended his mistake. “Oh,” Enjolras said, confining his books to his half of the table. “You can sit here, if you’d like.” The boy smiled and Enjolras found himself smiling back as he watched the boy lay out his sketchbook and pencils. Enjolras picked up the coffee cup beside him instinctually, having forgotten its contents as he sipped casually.

He sputtered as soon as he tasted what he was drinking because fucking ew . The boy laughed, deeper and softer than he’d sounded from across the room. Enjolras blushed, not because this cute boy was laughing at him but because he’d just made himself look like an idiot in front of the whole library.

The boy spoke up. “Not a black coffee sorta dude?” he said through a teasing smile. Enjolras felt his embarrassment turn into indignation, but it subsided as the boy sobered. “Sorry, I should have asked you how you take your coffee before just going out and getting you something.”

Enjolras shook his head. “It’s fine.” The boy dug around in his pockets a moment before procuring a few packets of sugar (Enjolras decided not to question how or why). He tossed them at Enjolras. Another moment passed before the boy spoke again.

“So how do you take it?”

“Hm?” Enjolras said, his head snapping up.

“Your coffee,” he answered, grinning again and raising an eyebrow.

“Oh.” Enjolras went back to his computer and rattled of his coffee order, swiftly and smoothly without even looking up.

“Woah,” the boy said, the hint of a laugh in his tone. “Slow down there buddy.” He flipped to a blank page in his sketchbook and pulled out a pencil, looking back up at Enjolras with a stupid grin. “What was that again?”

Enjolras looked up from his computer slowly, meeting the boy’s eyes. He repeated himself slowly, dropping his eyes down to watch the boy scrawl down his order as he spoke.

The boy nodded, looking back up to Enjolras. “And can I get your name with that, sir?” he said easily, flashing a perfect imitation of a patient (if not overworked) barista’s smile.

“Enjolras,” he said, trying not so sound as charmed as he was.

“Enjolras,” the boy repeated. He jotted the name down before saying, “Cool. I’m Grantaire, by the way.” Enjolras nodded, not entirely sure how to continue the conversation. Luckily Grantaire was cool about it, flipping to a different page in his sketchbook. He went back to drawing. Enjolras went back to writing. They sat in their quiet camaraderie, sipping their coffees (the sugars had helped considerably, thank god) and throwing each other the same familiar looks, only closer now. Closer was definitely better, Enjolras decided. He didn’t let himself delve into why (because he had work to do, totally not because he didn’t want to think about how attractive he found Grantaire, especially now that they were closer).

They sat with each other until Enjolras stood to leave. Grantaire gave him a solemn nod in goodbye, which enamoured Enjolras more than any other gesture would have. He walked home in a whirlwind, a smile stuck on his face the whole time.

The Amis had another event planned the next day, a follow up about women’s safety on campus. Enjolras had learned his lesson and was letting someone who represented the issue take the lead. Eponine was still sick and couldn’t make it, but luckily Cosette, the girlfriend of one of Courfeyrac’s friends, had stepped in to take her place. She came fully prepared with an entire speech about consent written up, delivering it with a soft-spoken yet assertive tone that captivated the whole audience, Enjolras included. He stepped on stage to wrap things up a bit after Cosette concluded, adding a few words about how abuse can be aimed at both men and women, but men needed to understand that the majority of abuse was directed towards women. A couple sentences about how everyone needed to be educated on the importance of consent later, he ended the gathering respectfully. Cosette smiled at him as he walked offstage, and Enjolras couldn’t help but return it. Call him optimistic, but he felt like they’d really gotten through to people this assembly. Well, mainly Cosette had gotten through to people, but Enjolras counted it as a team victory anyway. Les Amis 1, ignorant assholes 0. (Maybe not in the grand scheme of things, but Enjolras was celebrating the little things, okay?)

People stayed after the event officially ended, some coming up to Enjolras and the rest of the Amis with questions. But most of the people flocked to Cosette, as they should have. The group handed out resources for people to educate themselves with, which the people accepted with a sparkle in their eyes. The Amis may have been small, only officially comprised of Enjolras, Combeferre, and Courfeyrac, but that day they had really made an impact in the best way that they could.

Enjolras got an email that night. He didn’t expect anything less. He’d almost been looking forward to it, to seeing Mystery Sender’s reaction to how well they’d done today.

Enjolras opened the email to find nothing more than, “so you took my advice, huh apollo?” He scoffed, not knowing what else he’d expected.

“You had a good point,” he typed curtly, “so we took it into account. Don’t flatter yourself.” He hit send, tired enough to not feel bad about how harsh the last sentence sounded.

“of course not,” came the mystery sender’s reply. “wouldn’t dare. either way, you looked angelic up there. you really care about what youre saying, dont you? you believe in all the shit you spew. that’s inspirational, e.”

For a moment, Enjolras was stunned. Mystery Sender had called him E. Not once had this person ever referred to Enjolras as anything close to his real name. “Apollo,” sure. “Light of my life,” sure. “Angel descended from heaven to cleanse us of our sins,” sure (although that one had been so creatively typed that Enjolras couldn’t delude himself into thinking his mystery sender was anywhere near sober at the time he wrote it). But never “E,” or anything of the like. Sure, it was just a letter, one silly interchangeable word, but it stuck with Enjolras. It made his mystery sender feel real, like they were an actual person instead of some recurring gag in Enjolras’s life. It reminded him that there was someone on the other side of these messages, someone who spent time writing poems and dropping compliments and delivering criticisms to him. He locked his phone, pulling himself into bed and trying to pretend that this single letter wasn’t having as big of an impact on him as it clearly was.

 

The next day when Grantaire walked into the library, Enjolras spotted the same plain paper cup he’d been given the day before and blanched. The intention was sweet, it really was, but Enjolras could not deal with more disgusting bean water. He could not.

So when Grantaire pulled out a plastic cup with whip cream piled to the brim, Enjolras actually sighed with relief. Grantaire laughed and handed him his coffee, sliding into the seat across the table from Enjolras. He opened his sketchbook and started drawing again, taking a swig from his own disgusting, sinful coffee and smiling. As if he actually liked it. How?

Grantaire was drawing wordlessly, letting Enjolras do his work with no more disruption than his mere presence. Truthfully, Enjolras was thankful for the silence. He was already shaken up enough by the whole “E” thing from the night before; he didn’t have the mental capacity to uphold an actual conversation. Especially when he was simultaneously trying to tackle a philosophy essay and draft another Amis speech. Textbooks about old philosophers and great thinkers were sprawled across the table as he tried to find the right person to quote on a speech about education. Grantaire eyed the books curiously, but said nothing. Enjolras ignored him, too absorbed in his writing to afford to care about anything else. They continued on in their quiet peace, just enjoying each other’s company.

Enjolras liked this system better than their old one, even if he didn’t show it (or actively register that he actually had a preference between the two routines). Before was alright. Enjolras couldn’t really complain, but before Grantaire had been so aloof . He was a giggling enigma - Enjolras hadn’t even known his name. Now, with Grantaire sitting directly across from him, Enjolras was able to look at Grantaire whenever he wanted to. He often did sneak looks at Grantaire (and he did not need to justify those glances to anyone because they totally held no deeper meaning than Enjolras’s eyes wandering away from his work). There was just something about Grantaire, maybe how concentrated and isolated he looked while drawing, maybe the way his hair fell messily around his face, maybe how he’d worry his lip distractedly when he studied his own artwork. There was something about Grantaire’s composition that could clear Enjolras’s head, that expelled all the conflicting abstract ideas that Enjolras couldn’t make sense of. A stolen glance at Grantaire helped put Enjolras back on track when he was writing, it made his point clear to him again. From across the table, Grantaire gave him clarity, the ability to focus on something palpable and solid and real rather than grapple for a concept that he couldn’t properly bring to fruition. Also, free fucking coffee .

A week passed and Enjolras was speaking at another event, a call for the revaluation and ultimate revision of the education system. Combeferre tackled the brunt of the talking, since he was the most well versed in the topic, but Enjolras always spoke just to give their little group a recognizable “leader.” He spoke quickly, a brief couple of paragraphs expounding upon what Ferre had said and citing Voltaire, the philosopher he’d chosen to write into the speech a week ago.

He got an email almost immediately after the event was over.

“voltaire?” the email began without preamble. “seriously? u know that guys a total hypocrite, right?” Briefly Enjolras considered that his mystery sender must have been a regular attendee at their meetings to know about Enjolras’s speeches so quickly, but the thought was pushed out of his mind by the matter at hand. Enjolras was being challenged: this was a debate.

He typed in a fury, only mildly incoherent as he typed paragraph upon paragraph about the issue. He maintained that while it was important to recognize how problematic a figure might be, it was also important to recognize that their ideals could still be correct and hold merit, even if their personal lives didn’t exactly exemplify those ideals. Thirty minutes later he pressed send, which was a pretty good time considering all the points Enjolras had attempted to write down. Fuckin’ take that, Enjolras thought proudly as he sent it.

Enjolras had turned to other things by the time Mystery Sender’s reply came in. At first Enjolras figured that he’d stumped his mystery sender for once, leaving them defeated and without an argument to stand on. But upon opening the email he found that the time between emails had been spent writing on his mystery sender’s part. Enjolras was met with a dissertation that rivaled his own in length, raising frustratingly valid points against Enjolras. Now Enjolras wasn’t really a violent guy, but upon reading the email he would’ve totally punched his mystery sender in the face if he could have.

They engaged in a crazy debate, going back and forth or hours on end. Enjolras was split between gritting his teeth because no you could not be any more wrong and tiredly giggling at his mystery sender’s sarcastic quips and artfully interspersed compliments. They kept emailing one another until Enjolras realized that the sun was rising. Fucking hell.

The debate was never truly settled, Enjolras sending, “You are wrong and I am tired. I’m going to sleep now,” at around six in the morning.

Enjolras could practically hear the laugh in Mystery Sender’s voice when he read the response. “i am right and you are cute. go to bed, apollo.” Enjolras actually smiled at his phone, unable to stop his grin as he collapsed into bed. He begrudgingly set his alarm for 9:45, cursing both his 10 am class for existing and himself for being stupid enough to engage in a dumb debate all night. But as Enjolras drifted off to sleep, he couldn’t help but think about how he’d actually enjoyed discoursing with his mystery sender. Whoever it was, they were a great conversationalist - funny, comprehensive, and wildly intelligent. The flirts spread throughout didn’t hurt either, although most were just laughable to Enjolras (Mystery Sender had complimented his fucking teeth , like really?). However much he was going to suffer for it upon waking up, Enjolras hazily decided that the night of debate had been worth it simply because he’d enjoyed himself.

Enjoyment or not, the next morning repercussions hit, and they hit hard. Roughly four hours of sleep with an Amis event the day before and a full day of classes the day after was not one of Enjolras’s best moves. He dragged himself through his classes, barely absorbing anything his professors said. He’d had countless sleepless nights before, most worse than the one he’d just had, but this one felt like the culmination of the last ten sleepless nights. He was unable to do anything other than feel bad for himself as he battled off drowsiness in every class.

In his sluggish sleepiness Enjolras was late to his daily library meeting with Grantaire. Or well, not really late , since their meeting wasn’t an established thing , but when the clock struck five and one wasn’t there, the other started to worry. Enjolras showed up a full thirty minutes late, something that felt like years to someone as prompt as punctual as he tried so hard to be. “You okay?” Grantaire gave in greeting, his brow knit as he handed Enjolras his usual coffee.

Enjolras considered himself a moment before speaking. “No,” he said, the hints of a tired smile tugging at his lips. He accepted the coffee, grateful for any source of caffeine. He collapsed into his seat, ignoring how Grantaire was looking at him. Enjolras could feel how pathetic he looked, but he was too exhausted to feel like explaining himself to anyone.

Luckily Grantaire was amazing and picked up on this, not pushing to find out why Enjolras was so tired. Instead he raised an eyebrow, somewhere between grimacing and smirking at Enjolras. “Maybe you should take a break,” he suggested. Enjolras was immediately shaking his head.

“No, I’m alright.” The concept of resting was foreign to Enjolras. With school work and the Amis and remembering to not accidently starve himself, there was no time to rest. Like ever. He couldn’t afford to stop because then he’d fall behind and disappoint his friends. And then he’d lose his friends and then his political movement would dissolve and then-

“E,” Grantaire said firmly, jolting Enjolras out of his downward spiral of panic enough to make him actually listen. “Take a break.”

“Grantaire,” Enjolras said, not sure if he was trying to coolly brush off Grantaire’s concerns or frantically explain why he couldn’t adhere to them, “you don’t understand, I have a-”

“I understand,” Grantaire said so clearly and calmly that Enjolras believed him. “You work too god damn hard and you deserve a fucking rest. Take the night off. If you need to catch up on anything I’ll help you tomorrow. But right now you need to sleep . Go to bed, A-” Grantaire stopped himself abruptly. Enjolras was so out of it that he barely registered the pause. “Go to bed,” Grantaire repeated resignedly.

Enjolras took a deep breath. Grantaire was right and they both knew it. Enjolras didn’t like how being defeated felt. He looked down disappointedly at his coffee before gasping. He’d drank almost half of the whole cup. Consciousness driven by caffeine alone was pretty much the last thing Enjolras wanted right now, but there was no way he could fall asleep with so much of it already in his system. He looked up to Grantaire, who seemed to be one step ahead of him.

“It’s decaf,” he said with a small smile. “Call it a hunch. Now go home, kid.” Enjolras put aside his disgruntlement at being called “kid” and headed back for his dorm, clutching onto his coffee cup the whole way there. It didn’t even occur to Enjolras to ponder how Grantaire had known he’d be tired or why he’d seemed to care so much about Enjolras. Maybe Grantaire had heard that Enjolras was an activist and knew that yesterday’s petition had tuckered him out. That was probably it. Enjolras didn’t analyze it; he was too busy trying to walk without collapsing from exhaustion. Between balancing and sipping his coffee, Enjolras had only enough brainpower to think of the word “Grantaire” over and over again. He wasn’t sure why that was the only thing he could bring himself to think, but thinking it made him smile so he let it be.

Enjolras slumped up to his dorm and fell into his bed. He slept the entire night, getting the full night’s rest that he’d normally never dream of. And it felt really fucking good.

He woke the next morning refreshed and well rested for once in his fucking life. A message from Mystery Sender was waiting for him in his inbox, sent not too long after Enjolras had gone to sleep the night before. He opened it curiously.

“sorry if i kept you up last night. i know you have more important shit to do than debate with some random devil’s advocate who thinks you’re cute. to make it up to you, i donated some money to ur political movement or whatever. it’s not a ton, but i want you to know that i do actually support what ur doing. i just, u know, dont think u guys can actually do it.”

Enjolras blinked hard. After rubbing his eyes and rereading the message he checked the Amis website. 50 bucks. Holy shit.

Sure, it wasn’t anything insane , but to someone who was assumedly a broke ass college kid like everyone else was, that was a fucking fortune. Holy fuck . Enjolras was wowed. How was this mystery person so good at stunning Enjolras into silence?

His motivation returned at full force. The full night of sleep that Grantaire had given him combined with the simultaneous encouragement and opposition Mystery Sender had given him had Enjolras ready to take on the world. Enjolras’s mystery sender’s lack of faith was what was pushing him harder than anything. Now Enjolras had a goal , someone to work to win over. He could prove that yes, his small group of friends could grow, could take on more, could achieve more, could change the fucking world. Sunlight streamed through Enjolras’s windows as he made himself a coffee and formulated a response to Mystery Sender.

Forty-five minutes and eight separate draftings later, Enjolras ended up with a proposal to his mystery sender. He attached a file to the email, a copy of an old speech. Something from forever ago about the importance of getting involved in politics, even at the local level. Enjolras wanted to talk about the issue of apathy towards local politics since fixing that was the first step to curing apathy to politics in general, but Courfeyrac had told him that the speech was too boring. “This had been said like a million times,” he’d said, “everybody already knows this spiel.” He was right, but Enjolras couldn’t find a way to make his speech more interesting. At least, not on his own.

The actual message he’d sent to Mystery Sender was blunt. “Critique this,” he wrote. “Oppose it. Call out all the bullshit.” He hesitated a second before adding, “For your Apollo.” He decidedly ignored the fluttering in his stomach as he typed the last sentence.

Enjolras wanted his mystery sender to tear his speech to shreds, to point out how repetitive and uninteresting it sounded so Enjolras could rework it. He wanted to make his argument stronger, solid and unwavering enough to convince Mystery Sender. Wait no, fuck, to convince the voters. Yeah, to convince the people actually listening to the speech when he gave it. That was what this whole thing was about - bettering his arguments in order to better his activist group. Not to prove a point to his secret admirer. (Enjolras was lying to himself and he knew it, but he was actively choosing not to acknowledge it.)

Mystery Sender did just that. They responded within the hour with a fucking decimating review of Enjolras’s work. No sentence had been left untouched - they’d ripped it all apart. Mystery Sender had called out all of Enjolras’s shit: the filler lines his heart hadn’t been into writing, the contradictions his political enemies could easily throw back into his face someday, Enjolras’s general boring pretentious idealism, everything . By the end of Mystery Sender’s critique there were only a solid two or three sentences Enjolras could actually work with. And he fucking loved it.

Mystery Sender’s critiques were intelligent, witty, brutal. They’d said everything that Enjolras’s friends were too nice to tell him (no matter how much Enjolras wanted to hear it). Enjolras started reworking his speech immediately, shooting emails back and forth with his mystery sender all day. Sure, he didn’t have to email his mystery sender after their intensive corrections, but Enjolras liked having constant clarification on what Mystery Sender was saying. He needed to be sure that his argument was as strong as possible. Also, Enjolras didn’t mind the compliments and flirtations that diversified Mystery Sender’s shit talking.

Enjolras was so immersed in fixing his speech with his mystery sender that he almost forgot to meet Grantaire at the library. He practically sprinted out of his dorm when he remembered, hitting send on another email to his mystery sender before grabbing his laptop and booking it. He didn’t want to leave Grantaire waiting again .

He arrived at their usual table on time, even if his perfectly styled hair and normally leveled composure had been compromised upon his arrival. He showed up half breathless to see Grantaire typing on his phone, fingers flying expertly over the screen. Whatever he was writing, he was really invested in it.

Trying his best not to disrupt Grantaire, Enjolras slipped quietly into his seat across from his friend. (Were they there yet? Could Enjolras call Grantaire his friend? Of course he’s your friend , Enjolras’s mind supplied matter-of-factly, so Enjolras didn’t deliberate any more on it.) Despite Enjolras’s efforts to be stealthy and courteous, Grantaire stopped typing to look up as Enjolras sat down. An expression Enjolras couldn’t place momentarily spread over Grantaire’s face. Something almost resembling panic. But before Enjolras could properly analyze what Grantaire was feeling, the look was replaced with Grantaire’s usual casual smirk. Something about it seemed off, though. To Enjolras, it seemed forced.

Enjolras slipped into a momentary reflection, questioning himself on Grantaire’s signature smirk. Was this a singular incident, or had his smile always been forced? Was Grantaire doing alright? Would Enjolras have even noticed if he hadn’t seen that worried look flash momentarily over Grantaire’s face?

His internal monologue was cut off by Grantaire sliding him his coffee, which Enjolras thanked him for. He frowned. How often did he actually thank Grantaire for his coffee? Not often enough, he decided, not able to recall uttering a “thank you” in the past week. The past month, even. Enjolras was disappointed with himself. If he could think of Grantaire as his friend without hesitation, why wasn’t he treating him like one? He promised himself that he’d be more considerate.

Grantaire seemed to have other things than Enjolras’s bad manners on his mind. He stood from the table, apologizing and excusing himself abruptly before gathering his things to leave. He was a mess as he left Enjolras, papers falling out of his cherished sketchbook as he kept typing away on his phone. Whatever he was saying, it had to be important.

Most of the papers that fell out of Grantaire’s sketchbook were blank but Enjolras collected them anyway. One of them had a rough sketch on it, a warm up of a human figure. Probably some anatomy reference practice thing , Enjolras reasoned. He studied the paper for a second, his mind drifting back to how curious he was growing to be about Grantaire. All this time sitting together and he’d never even thought to ask what Grantaire was always drawing. The more he thought about it, the more he realized he wanted to get to know Grantaire, he wanted to be more than just silent study buddies with him (although Enjolras did enjoy that quite a bit). Questions popped into his head so rapidly they overwhelmed Enjolras. Was Grantaire an art major, or was art just a hobby? What did he draw for hours at a time, sitting across from Enjolras as he studied? Why did he seem content to let Enjolras know virtually nothing about who he was, especially when he spent time and money getting Enjolras a coffee every single day? It seemed to Enjolras that somehow Grantaire had gotten a firm sense for who he was, but Enjolras had virtually no idea who Grantaire was. He wondered if it’d be out of place to ask Grantaire about himself tomorrow. Their relationship so far had been built on a sort of silent respect towards one another; the whole point of their arrangement was that they didn’t have to talk to feel comfortable around one another. Still, Enjolras was growing more and more curious of his aloof companion. A couple of questions couldn’t hurt, right? In the name of being a better friend?

Minutes after Grantaire left in a dither, Enjolras got another email from Mystery Sender. This one detailed how Enjolras had managed to contradict himself twice in one statement (“seriously apollo, fucking up like that takes talent ”) while two entire paragraphs were dedicated to how beautiful and perfect Enjolras’s eyes were. Enjolras rolled his reportedly “blazing” and “impassioned” eyes at the sweet nothings and focused on his contradictions, buckling down to work out all the kinks of the behemoth of a speech before him. With his mystery sender’s flirtatious help (flirtatious was putting it lightly; they must have tried to derail the conversation 10 times to talk about Enjolras’s “glorious ass,” Enjolras never giving them the satisfaction of knowing that he was actually a little flattered by it), he managed to get the whole speech reworked before a librarian could kick him out. He sent a final thank you email with a remark thrown in about how wrong Mystery Sender had been about the general public “just not caring” about local elections. Enjolras could hear the eyeroll in their response, one part patronizing and two parts loving. “ur lucky you’re pretty, apollo. sleep well.”

 

And so Mystery Sender became a quintessential part of Enjolras’s writing. The two talked daily, Enjolras never running out of politics to talk about and his mystery sender never running out of compliments. Sometimes Mystery Sender succeeded in getting Enjolras off topic and they’d talk about school or parents or science or stars or anything that Enjolras’s mystery sender brought up. One time they’d stayed up all night, talking about beliefs and ideals and watching the sun rise together. Mystery Sender had been stunningly cynical when they talked about their beliefs, enough to genuinely startle Enjolras. As the sky turned from pitch black to light blue, Enjolras typed out email after email in an attempt to properly explain to his mystery sender why it was important for one to fight for what they believe in. Mystery Sender’s replies were always somewhere between self-deprecating and condescending, leaving Enjolras to fall asleep concerned and wanting to hug his mystery sender. He wasn’t too huge on physical affection with those he wasn’t close to, but that seemed like the only way to instill hope in his mystery sender. And really, if there was anyone besides Courfeyrac and Combeferre that Enjolras was close enough with to be comfortable hugging, it was his mystery sender.

Grantaire’s mysterious dismissals of himself from their library meetings became regular as well. He’d excuse himself seemingly at random, and Enjolras had to wonder if he was doing something wrong. He put aside asking about Grantaire’s personal life for the time being, deciding that it was the wrong time.

A week or so passed like this, Mystery Sender shitting on Enjolras’s entire political career while Enjolras tried desperately to salvage an argument and Grantaire’s presence in his life becoming more and more sporadic. Enjolras’s speeches were stronger than ever before and it was really making an impact; the Amis membership had jumped to a solid nine people. (“That’s triple what it was last month!” Courf remarked optimistically.) Eponine had founded a sister group, which Cosette had eagerly volunteered to corun with her. Shit was all going really well for Enjolras. Except for shit concerning Grantaire.

In the past week Grantaire had barely even showed up to the library, coming maybe three or four days. When he did show up, he was frazzled, tired, overworked. Generally miserable looking. He smelled sharp, a stark contrast to the wholesome coffee grounds and faint paint fumes Enjolras was used to. Grantaire never showed up quite drunk , but Enjolras knew that there was more in his friend’s cup than just coffee.

Enjolras had tried asking what was wrong. Grantaire shrugged him off every time, replying with a bullshit response like, “I just have this huge painting I’m working on.” Enjolras knew he was lying. On a particularly bad night Enjolras had taken Grantaire’s hands in his own, looking him directly in the eyes and firmly asking what was wrong. Grantaire raised his eyebrows skeptically, managing to sound both sarcastic and genuine as he responded, “I’m getting more involved in politics.” Enjolras didn’t know how to make him elaborate, so they left it at that. Enjolras was worried. It was unlike him, but he truly was.

Grantaire didn’t show up at the library again for another week after that night. Enjolras knew - he’d come to the library every day anticipating Grantaire, and every day was left sitting alone at their table, conversing with his mystery sender for lack of a better thing to do.

The night Grantaire came to the library again, he came bearing his sketchbook and usual two coffees. Enjolras took his coffee and flashed Grantaire a smile, briefly registering that Grantaire must have spent a small fortune on Enjolras’s coffee over the past few weeks. Enjolras’s stomach flipped at Grantaire’s unfaltering kindness.

Grantaire was sober this time, at least as far as Enjolras could tell. As he let out a breath of relief, Enjolras exhaled a quiet, “Hey, R.” Grantaire’s attention was immediately pricked, his eyes snapping up to meet Enjolras’s. It wasn’t like the nickname was new or anything, it was just that the two so seldom spoke that addressing each other by name seemedly oddly intimate.

“Hey Enj,” Grantaire replied uncertainly. He sat down and Enjolras furrowed his brow. Curiosity had gotten the better of Enjolras; he caved.

“So uh,” he started, trying to keep his tone light and casual, “what do you keep drawing in that sketchbook of yours?”

Enjolras swore he saw Grantaire blush.

“Oh, you know,” Grantaire replied, trying to sound innocent but too exhausted to be convincing, “whatever.”

Enjolras raised an eyebrow, almost smiling but not quite. “I see. Could you show me?” he asked.

Grantaire slipped back into himself for a moment, smooth, comfortable, teasing. He was no longer the overwhelmed boy who went missing from Enjolras’s life for weeks at a time, he was back to the cute boy who’d giggled at Enjolras’s aggrieved groans from across the library all those weeks ago. “Maybe later, Apollo,” he said. The response was so easy, so natural that for a moment neither of them registered the implications of what Grantaire had just let slip. Then all at once they realized. Terror dawned on Grantaire’s face at the same time that shock dawned on Enjolras’s. Was Grantaire…?

“Pylades?” Enjolras referenced his mystery sender’s email, almost breathless as his eyes met Grantaire’s.

Grantaire looked mortified, desperately grappling for something, anything . “Enjolras, I didn’t- I never wanted-” He couldn’t get a sentence out, wasn’t able to meet Enjolras’s confused expression. “Fuck, I’m sorry.” He gathered his stuff hurriedly, looking as if he were on the verge of tears before rushing out the door. Enjolras was left sitting alone, stunned into silence. Oh god. Grantaire was his mystery sender.

In light of this new revelation, Enjolras rushed back to his dorm and spent the rest of the night making sense of the past few weeks, rereading the emails that Mystery Sender had sent him, the wonderful and intelligent bantering they’d exchanged. He read through them all, constantly reminding himself that it wasn’t some mystery sender he’d kindled a strange sort of anonymous friendship with, it was Grantaire . The person who could talk so much shit about Enjolras’s political life was the same person who sat in a comfortable silence with him every single day at the library. The person who was flirting with him, writing entire poems about his loveliness was the same one spending a small fortune on him in iced lattes just because he wanted to. The boy who looked so distressed at their recent library meetings was spending every waking moment getting more involved in politics , pulling apart Enjolras’s speeches and stances and helping him become a stronger, better politician via email. Grantaire was playing a double agent, both of whom were devoted to making Enjolras’s life better. And Enjolras was so fucking oblivious that he couldn’t put it all together without ruining it.

He had ruined it, hadn’t he? Grantaire was miserable now, he clearly was, and it was Enjolras’s fault. Not only had Enjolras made Grantaire bite off more than he could chew by expecting him to dive head first into Enjolras’s extensive political work, he’d been so insensitive to the whole thing that when he’d figured it all out, he’d made Grantaire feel terrible about it. Enjolras might have been dense and oblivious to others’ feelings, but even he could figure out that much. What he couldn’t figure out was why Grantaire was so torn up. At first, Enjolras was consumed by guilt, unable to get Grantaire’s broken countenance out of his mind. But as Grantaire’s distress at being found out nagged at the back of Enjolras’s mind, he found himself questioning why Grantaire was so distraught by Enjolras’s realization. This was a good thing, wasn’t it? Enjolras knew , he knew how much Grantaire cared about him, he knew how intelligent and funny and talented Grantaire was. He knew who his mystery sender was. The gaps of what he didn’t know about Grantaire were filled in by what he knew about his mystery sender, and vice versa. He knew. They could pursue an actual friendship now! In real life! A melding of their online discourse and real life silence that would yield amazing face to face conversations! And friendship!

Enjolras’s chest was aching. Something felt wrong about his last revelation, as if it weren’t exactly what he wanted. A friendship with Grantaire. That entire notion felt wrong. Like it wasn’t enough. Like there should have been something more . Enjolras sat back, pushing himself away from his laptop and staring at the wall. Was the longing he felt towards Grantaire a longing for something more than a friendship?

Enjolras sighed and glanced at the clock. It was three in the morning. He should sleep. Figure it all out in the morning. There was no use in bothering his friends at this hour. It’d be rude of him. It wasn’t his friends’ responsibility to drag him out of his own mess. Sorting out his own feelings was on him and him alone.

Enjolras thought that exact thing as he unlocked his phone and started texting Courf.

“Courfeyrac, I might have a problem,” Enjolras sent. He figured it was vague enough that if Courf was really tired or something, he wouldn’t feel too guilty putting it off until the morning. But ever the good friend, Courfeyrac responded a second later with a “?????” Briefly wondering if that boy ever slept before remembering that no, he did not, Enjolras sent another text explaining his predicament. “So I found out who my mystery sender is? It’s Grantaire. And I’m overjoyed because I enjoy Grantaire and I (somewhat reluctantly) enjoy my mystery sender, but. I think my enjoyment of them might amount to something more than I previously thought?”

Enjolras sent the text and watched nervously as the three dots signifying Courf’s forthcoming response bounced on his screen. Minutes that felt like hours passed before Enjolras got a reply. “no fucking shit you like him enjolras, you havent been able to shut up about your mystery sender /or/ grantaire since you met either of them. seriously man, youve literally never been this passionate about anything not related to the amis, like ever. honestly i thought the problem would be choosing between grantaire and mystery sender, not that they’d both be the same person. go get him dude, because youre fucking smitten.”

Enjolras reread the text at least fourteen times before putting down his phone and sighing. He laid down, having reached resolute clarity and thinking that yeah no shit, he definitely liked Grantaire. He’d liked the two separate people that Grantaire played in Enjolras’s life, and now that he knew they were the same person, the feelings Enjolras felt for both of them were combined into something way, way more. Mystery Sender - er, Grantaire was intelligent and independent, able to talk seriously with Enjolras about ideology and really challenge Enjolras’s beliefs and arguments. He was an alluring mixture of cocky and considerate, laughing at Enjolras from across the library but going out of his way to secure Enjolras’s pretentious coffee order. He was interesting and talented, staying up all night with Enjolras to talk about the universe and everything in it and spending hours at a time drawing in his sketchbook. He was perfect, Enjolras realized. Or maybe not perfect, but right. He was exactly the person Enjolras wanted at his side in both his political and personal life. For Enjolras, people like that were hard to find.

Enjolras wasn’t about to let Grantaire disappear from his life when he fit so perfectly into it. So, Enjolras spent almost all of his free time trying to talk to Grantaire. He spent hours at the library, just sitting alone and hoping Grantaire would drop by. He asked around his friend group to see if anyone knew where Grantaire would be hiding out, to no avail. Enjolras mainly preoccupied himself sending emails to Grantaire, his messages ranging from pages and pages of “I’m sorry I understand now you have no reason to feel bad at all because I appreciate everything you’ve done for me please just talk to me R please” to one line declarations like “You look heavenly when you draw,” or “I miss seeing your smile.” Enjolras just needed to talk to Grantaire, he needed to properly acknowledge and solidify his feelings (or at least explain to Grantaire that he didn’t hate him and apologize for being such a dense asshole). But whatever he sent, wherever he went, whoever he asked, Grantaire eluded Enjolras. Whatever reason Grantaire had for not wanting to confront Enjolras, he was sticking steadfastly to it.

An entire week passed like this. An entire week of showing up at the library at five on the dot with two coffees, one for him and one for Grantaire, but never giving away the second coffee. An entire week where Enjolras found himself unable to write speeches like he could before, unable to produce anything he was proud of without Grantaire’s help. An entire week of “Grantaire please, I miss you,” with no response. How did Enjolras’s life come to this? Revolving around a singular person? Even his politics, a matter Enjolras tried to be fiercely independent and self-sufficient about, had come to rely on Grantaire’s biting wit and devil’s advocacy. So after a week spent realizing how important Grantaire was to him, Enjolras pulled himself together and started forming a plan.

For some reason, Enjolras’s mind was startlingly clear. The clarity and purpose that would’ve only taken Enjolras a glance at Grantaire before now took a whole week without him. But Enjolras knew what to do now and wasn’t about to waste his chance. He searched through all of his and Grantaire’s emails, months of correspondence shared with someone he’d thought to have been a stranger. Finally Enjolras found what he needed, an issue Grantaire had brought up that Enjolras had never properly addressed. Enjolras sprang into action, laying out a step by step plan and quickly contacting the rest of the Amis. With their help Enjolras was able to fully set his plan into motion, booking himself a speech at the school’s upcoming pride event.

Enjolras had never felt particularly challenged by writing a speech. He had a lot of strong opinions and normally it wasn’t too hard to get them down on paper. But now, without his mystery sender constantly questioning and solidifying his viewpoints, Enjolras found himself struggling. This speech had to be perfect. It was quite possibly the only chance Enjolras had to win Grantaire back, not only as a friend but possibly as a lover. Enjolras wanted this to work, he needed this to work. His career needed this to work. And maybe, if it was late and Enjolras was too tired to be lying to himself anymore, his heart needed this to work too.

Pride was swiftly approaching and Enjolras found himself making changes to his speech until the minutes before he was going on stage to give it. Courf, having figured out what Enjolras was trying to do within minutes of learning the plan (Enjolras was 90% sure he was actually psychic), hugged Enjolras before he went on, grabbing both of his shoulders and saying, “You’ll be okay no matter what, okay?” Enjolras nodded, allowing himself to believe his friend’s words for the time being. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath before stepping onstage to give a speech that could very well change his life.

As Enjolras started his speech, he purposely did not scan the crowd before him. He didn’t even know if Grantaire was going to be there, and right now he didn’t want to. Right now he wanted to give this speech as he had given every other - blissfully unaware of his mystery sender’s presence.

Not to be cocky, but Enjolras was pretty damn proud of what he’d written. It was powerful and brutally honest, managing to be both empowering and to the point. He dove headfirst into queer issues, calling people to action and declaring that straddling the fence only gave power to the oppressors. He insisted that the fight for equality had not been won with the achievement of marriage equality, that there were still queer people in constant danger that deserved justice. He was righteous, alive . The crowd was eating out of the palm of his hand, hanging on his every word. As he ended the speech, he grew solemn. “What’s most important,” he said, “is to let people directly affected by these issues do the talking. I’m bisexual, these prejudices are ones that I meet every day. I know what it’s like to feel unaccepted, to be part of a group that the government systematically denies equal opportunity to. I firsthand understand that we need change, and I intend to bring just that, if you’ll stand with me.” The crowd began to cheer, practically erupted into applause as Enjolras thanked them and got off stage.

He was breathless, lightheaded even as the Amis swarmed him. His friends hugged him, smiling and laughing, slapping him on the back proudly. Camera flashes went off, reporters and audience members alike snapping pictures and yelling out how brave he was. Total strangers were congratulating him on coming out, but Enjolras barely registered any of it - all he could focus on was how his phone had just buzzed in his pocket. An eternity (three minutes) passed before Enjolras had the chance to pull out his phone and check his email. Pylades32@gmail.com.

“so,” it read, “you took my advice, huh apollo?” The moment Enjolras read it, he dissolved. He was smiling and crying at the same time and he looked like a dick because it looked like he was crying over coming out but he wasn’t, he was crying about Grantaire, sweet sarcastic perfect asshole Grantaire who was there, he’d come back to hear Enjolras. And he’d liked what he’d heard. Enjolras needed to leave, needed to find Grantaire and see him in person. He excused himself from the Amis’s support, pushing his way through his ring of friends because he needed to find Grantaire, he needed R right now.

And somehow Grantaire was there, right where Enjolras needed him to be. They hugged, Enjolras's happy, stupid tears still steaming down his face as he buried himself into Grantaire. Grantaire laughed, easy and clear and it was all Enjolras could hear above the people celebrating and reporters asking for statements. There were rainbows everywhere and Enjolras and Grantaire couldn’t stop laughing , they were just so overjoyed with one another. Before Enjolras even knew what was going on they were kissing. They were kissing and Grantaire’s lips were so soft and sweet and tasted like bad coffee and why was Enjolras so stupid as to not suggest this before? They kept kissing as people all around them took more pictures. Ferre tried to usher them away (god bless that man), but Enjolras was already pulling away from Grantaire, heart pounding in his chest from the spiral of emotions he’d gone through within the last hour.

“R,” Enjolras said, quiet and breathless against Grantaire’s lips. “We can sort this all out later, I promise. We’ll figure everything out soon. Soon soon soon.” He was stupid, dazed by his own happiness and Grantaire’s steady hands on his waist. “I just have to talk to a few people, give some quotes to reporters for the Amis, but I promise we can talk tonight, maybe my dorm?” Enjolras could feel Grantaire’s smile spread against his own lips as Grantaire nodded and pulled away. Enjolras was smiling, the huge grin on Grantaire’s face making his chest ache.

Grantaire pulled a sharpie out from seemingly nowhere and Enjolras took it, writing his dorm address on Grantaire’s arm. Caught up in the romanticism of the moment, he drew a little heart next to it before handing the sharpie back to Grantaire.

“Five o’clock,” Enjolras said, taking both of Grantaire’s hands in his and squeezing. “Don’t be late.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Grantaire said as he pressed another kiss to Enjolras’s lips. He disappeared into the crowd, leaving Enjolras on cloud nine as reporters barraged him with questions. He was so happy.

 

Grantaire arrived at Enjolras’s dorm at 5 o’clock sharp; Enjolras suspected he’d never been so on time for something in his life. Enjolras opened the door for Grantaire, who was standing there with a backpack slung across his shoulders and a sort of anxious grin. The first thing Grantaire was greeted with was an equally tentative Enjolras, smiling hopefully and holding two steaming coffees - Grantaire’s order alongside his own.

“About time,” Grantaire mumbled through a smile as he pulled Enjolras into a kiss. Enjolras blinked in shock before regaining himself, blindly placing the coffees on a counter by his side so he could fully address the Grantaire sucking on his bottom lip. But as much as Enjolras wanted to fall into Grantaire’s touch, he couldn’t relax before making sure they were both on the same page.

“Grantaire,” Enjolras said, a slight whine in his voice. Grantaire hummed in response as his mouth moved from Enjolras’s lips to his neck, which definitely did not help Enjolras concentrate on what he wanted to say. Still, Enjolras pressed on because he was a stubborn bastard and wasn’t about to let Grantaire and his perfect lips deter him. “I, shit , uh,” Enjolras sputtered, lost in how good Grantaire felt pressed up against him.

“Always so eloquent, Apollo,” Grantaire said, voice barely above a whisper. Enjolras did his best not to actually shiver. “You’re going to ask me if we’re boyfriends or not, right?” Enjolras nodded, not trusting himself with words for the time being. “Well, I could tell you if we’re boyfriends or not, or you could point me to your bedroom and I could show you .”

Enjolras tilted his head, deliberating his options for a moment. “Actually, I’d prefer if you told me so I could be totally sure,” he said, eliciting a laugh from Grantaire.

“Yes, yes Enjolras we’re dating, of course we’re dating.” Enjolras beamed, pulling Grantaire back up to kiss him again.

“I knew that,” he said, leaning his forehead against Grantaire’s.

“I can’t believe I have the lamest boyfriend on the planet,” Grantaire responded, his tone managing to be teasing and loving at the same time. Enjolras laughed, kissing Grantaire again because they had spent months not kissing and they had to make up the time somehow, right?

They pulled apart, Enjolras cocking his eyebrow. “Why the backpack?” he asked before smirking and adding, “Planning to stay the night?”

“If you’ll permit it,” Grantaire answered, using Enjolras’s same joking grandiose. He kissed Enjolras again, smooth and languorous before pulling away once more. “Seriously though,” he said with flushed cheeks and blown pupils. “Do you want to take things to the bedroom?”

Enjolras rolled his eyes, muttering a soft “Oh my god,” under his breath before pressing his lips against Grantaire’s again and taking his hand. He led Grantaire to his room, smiling like an idiot the entire time because this was actually happening. One look back at Grantaire’s dopey smile told Enjolras that he felt the same way.

Grantaire made it a solid four steps into Enjolras’s room before tossing off his backpack and kissing Enjolras again. He laced his fingers through Enjolras’s hair, tilting his head so he could better explore Enjolras’s mouth. They clumsily maneuvered their way towards the bed, still too awestruck by the situation at hand to be suave or sexy about anything. They were laughing and grabbing and giggling and sighing outright, having waited too god damn long to care about censoring themselves now. Enjolras fell onto his bed and Grantaire followed soon after. They both couldn’t wipe their stupid smiles off of their faces. Grantaire peppered Enjolras with kisses, starting from his forehead and carefully working his way down to the collar of his shirt.

“May I?” he asked, fingers skirting the bottom hem of Enjolras’s shirt. Enjolras bit his lips and smiled has he nodded, helping Grantaire pull off his shirt before moving to pull off Grantaire’s. After they were both satisfyingly shiftless, Grantaire went back to kissing Enjolras, trailing his lips lightly down Enjolras’s chest.

Enjolras pushed his body into Grantaire’s touch, physically aching for more of him - his hands, his lips, his unmistakably hard dick in his jeans, anything . “Grantaire,” he gasped, his voice soft and filled with wonder. A huge part of him still couldn’t believe this was happening. Grantaire , cute giggly asshole from the library, witty condescending genius from their emails was in his bed , shirtless and smiling and dragging his tongue down Enjolras's body. How was Enjolras expected to believe this was anything more than a really fucking spectacular dream?

Grantaire sucked at Enjolras’s hipbone, flicking his tongue over Enjolras’s skin before picking his head up and whispering, “Enjolras.” His voice was somehow different than what it normally was; it was deeper, more desperate than the confident lilt Enjolras was acquainted with. “What do you want me to do to you?” he asked, his eyes boring into Enjolras’s.

“Fuck, Taire,” Enjolras groaned, slightly taken aback by Grantaire’s frowardness. He considered his options and totally did not blush as he asked, “Could you… could you blow me?”

Grantaire fell silent and Enjolras couldn’t see him properly enough to gauge his expression. Shit. Had Enjolras fucked up? Been too forward, gone too fast? Panic and regret began to wash over him for the few moments Grantaire stayed silent, but he regained his confidence when he heard Grantaire moan under his breath. “ Shit Enjolras. Yeah I can do that. I’d actually love to. Fuck. ” Enjolras could feel Grantaire smiling, knowing his teeth were bared and his eyes were glinting without even having to look. Enjolras looked anyways, not wanting to miss a gorgeous moment as Grantaire started working off Enjolras’s pants. Enjolras and Grantaire were giggling together as they struggled with Enjolras’s pants, literally giggling because they were two lovestruck idiots who couldn’t believe this was happening. Once Enjolras was finally naked he pushed himself up onto his elbows to see Grantaire mouthing at the juncture of his hip. He looked like the poster boy for a gay wet dream, his mouth trailing so gorgeously across Enjolras’s body. Yeah, there was no way in hell Enjolras was missing this show.

Even with his eyes glued to Grantaire (because fuck , how could they not be with Grantaire’s raw lips and messy curls and blown pupils and other downright pornographic cliches that culminated into The Sexiest Thing Enjolras Had Ever Seen), Enjolras wasn’t prepared for Grantaire’s mouth around his dick. He knew it was coming, he could physically see Grantaire slowly wrap his lips around his cock like it was a fucking thing to do , but even that couldn’t prepare him for the perfect feeling of Grantaire’s mouth. Grantaire moved leisurely, like he had all the time in the world, like his every move wasn’t threatening to push Enjolras over the edge. His mouth was wet and warm around Enjolras’s dick, his tongue gliding up and down Enjolras’s shaft. Painfully slowly. Enjolras shivered. “R, Grantai-” he whined, cut off by his own moan as Grantaire flicked his tongue over the head of his dick. “Fuck, R, please, R ,” Enjolras whined, grabbing desperately at Grantaire’s hair.

Grantaire pulled himself up from Enjolras’s dick, lips shiny and smiling like he’d won something. “You know Apollo,” he smirked, “I’ve thought about you a lot during the past couple months, and in my head you were way better at dirty talk.”

Enjolras feigned offense, gasping in indignation. “You want me to show you dirty talk?” he asked, sitting up all the way and puffing out his chest. Grantaire sat up too, smiling so fully and honestly that his eyes crinkled at the edges. It was too easy for Enjolras to forget his righteous affrontement and return his contagious smile.

“No, that’s my job,” Grantaire said, low and growling as he moved to straddle Enjolras and pulled him into a kiss. Enjolras blanched, the taste of himself on Grantaire’s tongue startling him for a second before he recovered. Swiping his tongue across Enjolras’s bottom lip, Grantaire pulled away and rested his forehead on Enjolras’s shoulder, chest heaving and eyes screwed shut. “Fuck E,” Grantaire panted roughly against the soft skin of Enjolras’s neck, “I wanna fuck you. I wanna fuck you so hard, wanna see how you look when I’m inside of you, wanna make you come.” Enjolras bit his lip because holy fuck. His hips involuntarily jolted at Grantaire’s words, causing Grantaire to pick his head up and look over Enjolras’s hot and bothered self before adding a smug, “If that’s cool with you.” No shit it was cool with Enjolras, what were they waiting for?

“Yes,” Enjolras was saying, unable to stop the words from tumbling out. It was a miracle he wasn’t screaming them. “Yes, fuck Grantaire yes please .”

“Please what?” Grantaire asked, because he was the fucking devil incarnate. The devil incarnate with a sinful tongue and really good hair.

“Jesus fucking Christ, Taire,” Enjolras mumbled before complying with the beautiful (and evil) man on top of him. “Please fuck me, Grantaire, fuck me until I come, please .”

A smug grin came over Grantaire’s face as he took Enjolras’s cheeks into his hands and kissed him chastely. “Enjolras, your dick was literally just in my mouth. You know you don’t have to blush when you ask me to fuck you, right?” Which of course only made Enjolras blush more. A feeling in Enjolras’s gut told him Grantaire had said that with that particular goal in mind. It was sort of something to be proud of, making Enjolras blush so much. He never blushed, yet here he was, naked and flustered and completely flushed for Grantaire.

Speaking of naked, Grantaire was not and that needed to be remedied. Immediately. Enjolras moved one hand down to Grantaire’s waistband, wrapping the other around the back of Grantaire’s neck and pulling him in to kiss him again. Grantaire took the hint, pulling off his pants with relative grace and settling back on top of Enjolras. They were completely naked, their dicks hard and rubbing against one another. Enjolras gasped at the friction, and Grantaire took the chance to bite down on Enjolras’s lip.

“Shit!” Enjolras yelped, because ow , that actually fucking hurt a little bit. Still, he couldn’t keep the hint of a smile off his face as he grumbled,“Fucker.”

“That’s sorta what we’re going for, is it not?” Grantaire smiled back and yeah, now that it was all in front of him, Enjolras had no clue how he didn’t put together that Grantaire and his mystery sender were the same person. They were both fucking assholes. Grantaire pulled Enjolras in for another kiss, this one slow and sweet, like it was an apology for being a dick. Enjolras couldn’t help but accept the apology, especially considering the way Grantaire was delivering it. “Do you have the stuff?” he asked against Enjolras’s lips, his voice breathy and soft.

“Grantaire,” Enjolras quipped, a laugh faintly present in his voice, “I’m not a child. You can say lube around me.” Grantaire lowered an eyebrow, smirking a little bit at Enjolras.

“Okay, big boy ,” Grantaire drawled sensually, placing his hands on Enjolras’s chest. “Get out the lubrication .” Grantaire wiggled his eyebrows suggestively, and it took every ounce of Enjolras’s self control not to fucking lose it right there.

“You’re ridiculous,” Enjolras shook his head, reaching into his bureau for lube and a condom. He threw them at Grantaire’s chest, who laughed before picking them up.

“Dude, you totally love it,” Grantaire said genuinely, and Enjolras could only truthfully tell him that he was 80% wrong.

“So,” Grantaire said, pulling himself off of Enjolras. “Do you want to stretch yourself out or should I?”

“Was I supposed to find that hot?,” Enjolras asked, half teasing and half serious. “Because um. A swing and a miss.” Grantaire sounded more like he was proposing a change in syntax to one of Enjolras’s speeches rather than offering to finger him. Grantaire pouted (he pouted ), so Enjolras huffed and moved on. “I can take care of myself, but thank you.”

A smile spread across Grantaire’s face, sly and almost coy, like they were sharing a secret. “I know you can take care of yourself, Apollo, but it’d be a lot more fun for the both of us if you let me help out.”

“Oh my god, shut up.

Grantaire winked, his eyes lidded as he purred, “Make me.” Okay, Enjolras could do that.

He picked up one of his multitude of pillows from behind him and whipped it right at Grantaire, hitting him square in the face.

Silence fell over the two of them. Had they not been so caught up in their situation, the absurdity of it all would’ve dawned on them - they were both sitting on Enjolras’s bed, completely naked and painfully hard, and they were both just sitting there , soaking in the fact that Grantaire had just been whapped in the face with a fucking pillow. Then, simultaneously, the two burst into laughter, breaking down and laughing so hard their stomachs hurt. Grantaire pulled Enjolras into his lap and kissed him through their giggles. This was ridiculous, the whole thing was ridiculous . But fuck it, Enjolras couldn’t be bothered by how wild the situation was when Grantaire was absently grinding up into him, his hips circling in tandem with Enjolras’s. Enjolras and Grantaire had fully recovered from their laughing fit when Enjolras reached over to where the lube had ended up on the bed, placing it in Grantaire’s hand.

“I can do the honors?” he asked, eyebrow raised.

“Just get inside of me, asshole,” Enjolras exhaled, almost laughing, almost sighing.

Grantaire took his cue, reaching around Enjolras and sliding in a finger. It was cold, and kind of a stretch, but Enjolras couldn't really focus on that because Grantaire was still being an asshole. “I think it’s get inside of my asshole. Not me asshole. Unless I missed National Talk Like A Pirate Day. Again.” The edges of his lips were curled up, but Enjolras didn’t know if it was because he was proud of his joke or because he was proud of the way he was making Enjolras’s entire body ignite.

“There was a comma there, R, you fucking-” Enjolras was cut off by a sort of choked sound coming from the back of his throat, helpless and broken. Grantaire had slipped another finger in as Enjolras was going off on him, and was now curling his fingers inside of Enjolras to stretch him out. Enjolras lost his words, his mouth falling open as his hips instinctively gyrated to meet Grantaire’s touch. His head was tossed back, his back arched, but no sounds were coming out of Enjolras’s mouth. That is, until Grantaire brought his lips to Enjolras’s exposed neck and began sucking and biting, leaving faint marks that lingered on Enjolras’s skin. As soon as Grantaire started with that shit, Enjolras lost it.

“Grantaire,” he said, his voice strangled and broken in a way he’d never heard it come out before. “Fuck, Taire, please. I need you, I want, fuck .” Enjolras could barely get a sentence out, but Grantaire understood him perfectly.

“You ready?” he asked, devoid of any shitty puns this time. (Enjolras wasn’t sure if he missed them or not. Wait no, he totally was sure he did not miss the puns.)

“Yes,” Enjolras said. Because as ridiculous as this all was, it was real. Enjolras peppered kisses along Grantaire’s jawline as he rolled on a condom, moving to his lips just as Grantaire pushed inside of him.

Enjolras moaned into Grantaire’s mouth, shaky and a little overwhelmed. Grantaire picked up on this, bringing a hand up to stroke Enjolras’s hair while keeping the other hand on Enjolras’s cheek. “You good?” he asked, looking into Enjolras’s eyes. Call him swept up in the romance of the moment, or maybe just swept up by the dick in his ass, but Enjolras felt like this meant something. Like this was about more than just orgasming. Like it was the true culmination of the past months they’d been in one another's lives.

“Yeah,” Enjolras said, not caring if his Internal Gay Moment was leaking into his tone. “Yeah, I’m good.” Grantaire was looking at Enjolras like he was enamoured by the mere sight of him, his eyes filled with awe and desire and gentleness and genuine care for Enjolras. Enjolras didn’t know it, but he was mirroring Grantaire’s expression almost to a T.

Grantaire was rocking his hips up into Enjolras, moving slowly and languidly. Which was awesome , don’t get Enjolras wrong, but it was not nearly enough. “Grantaire, fuck,” Enjolras managed between labored breaths. “I wanna, shit, I-”

“What’s up, Enj?” Grantaire said, the concern in his voice slightly warped by the huskiness of his arousal.

Enjolras managed a challenging smile. “You know, Grantaire, you talk a big game, but…” He let himself drift off, watching how Grantaire’s hips slowed to a stop as he realised what Enjolras was saying.

“You want me to really fuck you, Enjolras?” Grantaire asked, his voice lower in pitch than Enjolras was used to.

“Yes,” Enjolras said, proud of himself for not adding an exasperated “No shit , Taire.” Instead, he managed a small “ Please ,” and Grantaire was gone.

He pulled Enjolras into another kiss, his fingers tangling in the mess of curls at the nape of Enjolras’s neck. He thrust his hips up into Enjolras, hard, not holding himself back or teasing Enjolras just to see him squirm. He was fucking Enjolras in earnest now, every one of his movements enacted with the sole goal of making Enjolras come. Grantaire moved his hands, using one to grab Enjolras’s hip and steady them and moving the other to Enjolras’s dick.

Enjolras was breathing hard, each exhale sounding more like a breathy moan. Every thrust sent a surge of warmth throughout Enjolras’s body, a needy heat that reached the tips of his fingers. With the combination of Grantaire’s unrelenting thrusts and the way he was expertly working Enjolras’s cock, there was no way Enjolras was lasting much longer.

“Grantaire, I want-” Enjolras started, feeling his orgasm build in the pit of his stomach.

“Come, Enjolras,” Grantaire said, and Enjolras did. His eyes were screwed shut, his chest flushed and his muscles tightening around Grantaire. Enjolras was pretty sure he blacked out for a good second or two, the entire world melting away, leaving only him and Grantaire and a sense of holy fuck, yes . Grantaire came not long after, sharply inhaling and biting down on his bottom lip so hard that Enjolras wondered how it wasn’t bleeding.

They both came to at the same time, Grantaire smiling infectiously at Enjolras, who returned the smile easily. They practically jumped at each other, Grantaire not even waiting to roll off his condom before they started kissing each other through their own giddy laughter. Grantaire took off the condom as they kissed, working with his eyes shut because there was no way he and Enjolras were pulling apart. This was just so right . Enjolras wanted to kiss Grantaire forever.

They fell back onto the bed without breaking their kiss, Enjolras on top of Grantaire, just kissing and smiling like dorks. Sometimes they couldn’t stop smiling enough to properly kiss one another, so they just rested their foreheads together until they got a hold of themselves and went back to kissing. Eventually, Enjolras rolled off of Grantaire, curling up into Grantaire’s warmth and laying his head on his boyfriend’s chest. (His boyfriend , holy shit.) They laid like that for a while, Grantaire’s fingers threaded through Enjolras’s hair as Enjolras drew little hearts on Grantaire’s chest with his fingertips.

“Grantaire,” Enjolras piped up, unable to stop himself.

“Yeah, Apollo?” Grantaire asked, a smile still ghosting his lips.

“You never showed me what you were always drawing in your sketchbook,” Enjolras said, looking up at Grantaire and frowning a little.

Grantaire was laughing, good natured and amiable, open and lovely and beautiful and man Enjolras was smitten. Grantaire looked at Enjolras, his eyes soft and loving. “ You , Enjolras,” he said, as if that were the most obvious thing on the planet.

Enjolras was taken aback. “R, me?” he asked, blinking hard in disbelief.

“Yes? Grantaire said. “Is that too creepy? I promise I’m not a stalker or anything, you just looked so nice and I’d zone out a lot and ohmygodyouprobablythinkI’mweirdanddisgustingnowEnjolrasI’mso -”

“Can I see them?” Enjolras asked, his tone devoid of any of the uneasiness Grantaire was convinced that he was feeling. Enjolras actually wasn’t weirded out by the thought of Grantaire drawing him as he worked. Really, he thought it was kind of adorable.

“I, uh,” Grantaire stuttered, for once left without a witty comeback. “Right now?”

“Yeah, if you’d like,” Enjolras said. He knew that after-sex cuddles weren’t really a thing to be interrupted, but this one time Enjolras was willing to break that sacred rule.

“Okay,” Grantaire said skeptically, “if you’re sure.” Enjolras moved enough so that he could get up and grab the sketchbook. He was only moving halfway across the room, but Enjolras still mourned the loss of him.

Grantaire found the backpack he’d discarded as he’d entered Enjolras’s room. Enjolras watched as he rifled through it for a second before pulling out his sketchbook. “Never leave the house without it,” he smiled as he walked back over to Enjolras. Grantaire tossed the sketchbook onto the bed for Enjolras, settling down criss cross at the other end of the bed while Enjolras pushed himself up into a sitting position to grab the book. He took it in his hands, staring at the cover for a second before flipping through the pages. He stopped on one that caught his eye, a page crowded with pencil etchings.

Upon closer inspection, Enjolras saw that each doodle was definitely him. There he was, bent over an open book, brows scrunched in concentration. Another sketch showed him typing on his laptop, fingers elegant and poised, making him look more like a gorgeous piano player than some college kid bullshitting some irrelevant English essay. He was sprawled all around the page, the drawings ranging from full body pictures to close ups of intricate details, like swollen lips or a crumpled collar. And in the bottom corner of the page, barely visible unless one had looked carefully over the entire thing, was Enjolras’s name and coffee order, scrawled down by Grantaire on the first day he’d brought Enjolras a coffee. “Oh my god,” Enjolras said, eyes glued to the paper. “Grantaire, this is…” Grantaire winced, preparing for Enjolras to be freaked out by the whole situation and call everything off. Enjolras could see Grantaire spiral down into a pit of self doubt, so he blurted out the first word that came to mind that’d make Grantaire see how much he appreciated this. “Gay.”

“What?” Grantaire said, shocked into laughing a little. One point for Enjolras!

“Gay,” he repeated, even they he knew Grantaire had heard him. “This is really gay.”

“Really bisexual ,” Grantaire corrected, winking unabashedly.

“Don’t edit me,” Enjolras said, tossing another pillow at Grantaire. Grantaire caught it this time, throwing it back at Enjolras (and terribly missing) before laying back down, pulling Enjolras to him and closing his eyes. “I love it, Grantaire,” he said softly. Grantaire pressed a kiss to the crown of Enjolras’s hair, tender and sleepy. Enjolras had a dopey smile stuck on his face as he matched his breathing with Grantaire’s. They drifted off to sleep together, lulled off by the sound of one another’s heartbeats. Apollo and his mystery sender, no longer barred by anonymity or stifled emotions or any of their other bullshit, were finally united. They could finally be happy.