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once was eeponine

words fly up | an it’s for you fic

combeferre; enjolras/grantaire, jehan/courfeyrac
leaving is one of the least fun things combeferre has ever done

follow-up to news. it was supposed to be a relatively short leaving fic and turned into enjolras/grantaire hurt/comfort. :’[


Leaving is one of the least fun things Combeferre has ever done.

The morning before his flight, he has breakfast with Enjolras. They talk about how they’re going to keep in touch about their efforts and how Combeferre can work on the blog remotely. Combeferre tells Enjolras to take care of the others, and Enjolras tells Combeferre to take care of himself.

Then Enjolras falls silent in a way he doesn’t very often, and Combeferre actually reaches over the counter to squeeze his shoulder.

“I’ll be back,” he says assuringly and Enjolras nods.

“I know you will,” Enjolras responds immediately. “And we have phones.”

“And computers,” Combeferre agrees.

Enjolras nods again, but his eyes are fixed on the counter between them. It hovers in the air, the thing he won’t say.

I don’t know what I’m going to do without you.

But Combeferre seems to know (he always knows), because he smiles genuinely, and says with a great deal of faith, “You’re going to be fine.”

Enjolras sighs, but the corners of his mouth twitch. “So are you,” he says, finally looking up at Combeferre.

Combeferre wants to believe him.


Enjolras stays the whole morning, and only leaves when Combeferre has to get ready to meet Jehan for lunch.

Grantaire is sitting on his couch when he gets home, and Enjolras doesn’t think he’s ever been so thankful for his boyfriend’s slightly clingy habits. It doesn’t occur to him that Grantaire is here because he knows Enjolras will need him.

Enjolras doesn’t have the energy for pride right now, and collapses on the couch next to Grantaire, tipping over to lay his head in his boyfriend’s lap and curling up around himself.

Grantaire doesn’t say anything, for which Enjolras is incredibly grateful. He just lifts one paint-stained hand and starts carding it through Enjolras’ curls, pausing only once and just so he can lean over and press a gentle kiss to Enjolras’ temple.

Enjolras lets out a sigh that sounds almost childlike, and Grantaire has never seen him like this. Granted, they’ve only been together for a little over two weeks, now, but in years of knowing him, Grantaire has never seen this kind of vulnerability in Enjolras before.

Then again, he’s never seen Enjolras without Combeferre.

“What?” he asks, because Enjolras has just breathed something into his knee that he couldn’t hear.

Enjolras turns his head to look up at Grantaire. “Don’t you leave me,” he says again, and it sounds like he wants it to be a command, but it comes out more like a plea.

Grantaire brushes a lock of hair away from his eyes and smiles. “Do you really think I ever would?” he asks softly.

Fingers stretch up to curl in his shirt and tug him down until their lips find each other. Enjolras is pulling at him almost desperately, tilting his head to suck Grantaire’s bottom lip between his teeth and biting down until it’s almost painful. The hand that’s not still clenched in Grantaire’s shirt shoves into his hair and fists, yanking him down even further.

“Christ, Enjolras,” Grantaire breathes right into Enjolras’ mouth because he can’t pull away. He’s bent almost double as Enjolras drags at him, and Enjolras won’t say it, he won’t. But he’s thinking it. He knows it.

I need you.

He recognizes that Grantaire is probably in a rather uncomfortable position, so Enjolras starts to move, maneuvering them both around by shifting Grantaire and then kissing him, pulling him around and scraping teeth over his jawline, until Grantaire is lying on the couch, supported by the armrest, and Enjolras is stretched on top of him, straddling his hips with his knees, arms looped under his shoulders, holding him close. Grantaire’s hands are tight in Enjolras’ hair as Enjolras kisses him feverishly.

“Don’t leave,” he whispers again between kisses, firmer this time.

“I won’t,” Grantaire gasps, half muffled when Enjolras swallows the end of his words with another kiss.

But then he pulls away and stares at Grantaire and says again, “Don’t leave.”

Grantaire almost laughs as Enjolras violently presses their lips together again. “I won’t,” he swears. Then, “Enjolras,” as his hands slips onto either side of his boyfriend’s face and hold him there, inches away, so he can look at him straight. “I promise,” he whispers fervently. “I’m here. I’m not leaving you.”

Enjolras just breathes for a second, ragged, his eyes wild. Then he says, “Good,” and slams his face into Grantaire’s again.


Jehan is remarkably light through lunch. Combeferre supposes he oughtn’t be surprised at this, Jehan is always a light in dark times. But the little poet probably wants to be crying, Combeferre knows, and instead he’s making Combeferre laugh. Which is just an absolute blessing, and makes Combeferre want to cry because he’s going to have to do without Jehan for who knows how long and he very much doesn’t want to.

It’s only when Courfeyrac shows up to walk Jehan home that Jehan falters a little (and Combeferre thinks about how desperately lovely it is that Jehan has someone who he feels strong enough to be vulnerable near).

After brushing a kiss to Jehan’s forehead, Courfeyrac goes to hug Combeferre. He doesn’t say anything, but Combeferre knows what he wants to say. He knows.

After Courfeyrac pulls Jehan into his chest as they leave the restaurant, Combeferre walks home alone. He had left these hours before the “going away party” tonight that Joly has thrown together so that he could finish packing, but the emptiness of spending the next few hours alone is tearing at him, and he’s trying to figure out who he should call to come over (and if he can justify calling anyone at all when he knows how much this is hurting his friends) when he stops.

Éponine is sitting on the floor in front of his apartment. She looks up when she sees him and gives him an absolutely terrifying glare.

“You weren’t going to tell me,” she says in a low voice, and it’s not a question.

Combeferre blinks. “Éponine, I’m so sorry,” he says immediately. It’s not that he didn’t want to tell her, it’s that he forgot, and that might be worse. He legitimately didn’t think she’d care enough to want to say goodbye so he’d forgotten to tell her. “Will you come in?”

She nods curtly and looks away, standing as she waits for him to unlock his door.

“Do you want tea?” he asks almost automatically as he shuts the door behind them and turns back toward Éponine, who’s still scowling at him.

“No,” she says. “I want you to tell me why the fuck you’re leaving without even saying goodbye to me or Gavroche?”

Combeferre takes a breath and shrugs, knowing he has no excuse. “Because I’m an ass,” he says simply. “I should have called you. I’m so sorry.”

Éponine softens a little. Combeferre knows she’s not used to easy apologies, but he also knows she deserves one from him right now. Her arms uncross. “Why are you leaving?” she asks, still frowning.

“My brother’s sick,” Combeferre answers right away. “Badly. I’m going home to be with my family while he’s in treatment.”

“When are you coming back?”

“When he’s better,” Combeferre sighs. His face darkens. “Or —”

“When he’s better,” Éponine says firmly.

Combeferre looks up at her. Éponine looks back.

“Tea might be good,” she says.

He smiles.


Courfeyrac is kissing comforting lines across Jehan’s face, curled up on the couch together, when Grantaire and Enjolras come in, fingers loosely wound around each other.

The two on the couch look up and Jehan untangles himself from Courfeyrac (who whimpers slightly at this) to get up and throw his arms around Enjolras, who only pauses in surprise for a second before he hugs back, his hand slipping out of Grantaire’s.

Grantaire heads for his bedroom, seemingly unperturbed.

For once in his life, Courfeyrac is quiet, watching as Enjolras and Jehan hold onto each other. Because they’re all losing Combeferre, but these two are going to feel it the worst. And they all know it.

When he pulls away, Jehan takes Enjolras’ face in both of his hands and just looks at him, searching for something. Enjolras sighs. Jehan nods. Then he releases Enjolras and turns to go after Grantaire.

Grantaire is digging through his drawers when Jehan slips into his room behind him. There’s a tattered backpack open on his bed that he’s thrown a few pairs of underwear into.

“Are you staying over with Enjolras again?” Jehan asks like it’s not obvious.

Grantaire looks over his shoulder and nods. “I ran out of clothes,” he says. Neither of them mention the fact that he’s spent the past nine nights consecutively over at Enjolras’ and Courfeyrac’s apartment. “Is that okay?” he asks suddenly, frowning. “Do you need me to be here tonight?”

Jehan smiles. “No, you should be with Enjolras, he needs you more. I have Courfeyrac, I have my own.”

They spend another few moments in silence as Grantaire digs for shirts and Jehan opens one of his drawers to add sweaters and socks to the pile.

“He hasn’t actually told you he needs you there, has he?” Jehan asks after a minute, glancing sideways at Grantaire, whose face is blank and guarded as he sniffs at a pair of jeans he found on the floor.

Grantaire wets his lips. “He doesn’t like asking for help,” he says simply.

Jehan waits until Grantaire looks at him and smiles warmly. “You’re a really good boyfriend, Grantaire.”

Grantaire shrugs, looking quickly down at the jeans in his hand again. “He needs somebody.”

“He needs you,” Jehan insists.

Grantaire shoots him a glance which very clearly states that he doesn’t believe Jehan, not really. Enjolras may need somebody but Grantaire flat-out refuses to believe that Enjolras would need him specifically. And Jehan can see that, and wishes desperately that he could say something that would convince him.

He cares so much for you.

You’re good for him.

You are what he wants.

But he can’t. So instead, Jehan sighs. “Just go kiss him, R,” he says softly, taking the jeans from Grantaire and shoving them in the suitcase before zipping it and handing it to him. “He needs it.”

He only feels a little smug when, after he follows Grantaire back out into the living room, Grantaire heads straight to Enjolras, grabs him and kisses him soundly, and Enjolras just melts into him. Jehan stands next to the couch and runs a hand through Courfeyrac’s hair. Courfeyrac leans into his hand as Enjolras tucks his face into Grantaire’s shoulder, holding him tightly. Jehan wants to think they’ll all be okay like this.

He hopes so.


Combeferre’s party is one of those affairs that’s loud in order to drown out the quiet. Everyone gathers around him and chatters and laughs (and hugs him), and Combeferre just loves them all and smiles and talks and doesn’t think about how much he’ll miss them.

Éponine hovers on the edge of things for a while — she was there when they all arrived, she and Combeferre had been talking all afternoon, and then she’d started to help him pack and she’d forgotten to leave — until Grantaire yanks her into the fray with one arm (his other arm has been claimed by Enjolras). Gavroche is there, too, having been picked up from school by Courfeyrac. Éponine finds herself suddenly indescribably grateful for this team of ragtag boys who seem to give a shit about her and her brother despite everything.

At eleven-thirty, Enjolras calls it a night. Combeferre has a really early flight and needs sleep, he says, and so, one by one, they say goodbye. Most of them cry. Bahorel tries not to. Courfeyrac makes really loud, obnoxious jokes that stop as soon as Combeferre hugs him and it takes him a minute to pull away from where his face is hidden in Combeferre’s shoulder. Jehan kisses Combeferre’s cheek as he hugs him, standing on his tip toes, tears falling freely, then follows Courfeyrac out to where he practically fled into the hallway. No one would be surprsed to hear that there, they collapse into each other, seeking both to comfort and be comforted, melding together like separation would stop both of their hearts.

When the others have all said their goodbyes, Grantaire accepts a hug from Combeferre, and then leaves to go wait in the hall while Enjolras says his. He’s driving Combeferre to the airport tomorrow in Jehan’s car, but this is their time for a proper goodbye and Grantaire thinks he probably doesn’t need to be here for this.

It takes seven minutes for Enjolras to emerge from Combeferre’s apartment (which, Grantaire realizes with a little stab, isn’t going to be his apartment anymore soon — it’s not like Combeferre is going to keep paying rent to a place he doesn’t use). His eyes are red, but not wet, and he doesn’t look at Grantaire when he comes out but he does hold on tight when Grantaire takes his hand to lead him back home.

They end up in his bed, stripped down to underwear just because it’s more comfortable that way, facing each other with their limbs all tangled together and Grantaire stroking Enjolras’ hair back away from his face. Neither speaks for a few minutes and Grantaire almost wants Enjolras to cry because at least that would be something, and not this stony, distant look that Grantaire hasn’t seen since weeks before they got together.

And Enjolras hasn’t even been looking at him. His hands are gripping at Grantaire’s body, his legs looped around Grantaire’s legs, but his eyes are elsewhere.

Finally, because he can’t take this — he can’t see his golden, soaring god bent so low and hopeless — Grantaire tilts forward and presses a tentatively gentle kiss to the space just under Enjolras’ eye, next to his nose. And finally, blue eyes flutter up to meet his.

“Thank you,” Enjolras whispers as soon as they do.

Grantaire blinks, startled. “For what?” he asks.

The looks Enjolras gives him is like, What the hell do you mean ‘for what’? and, Oh my god you really don’t know, do you? rolled into one flash of his eyes. “For this,” he says instead. “For everything. I’m not…” he huffs a sigh here like he’s frustrated with himself. “I’m not good at asking for help. But I didn’t have to ask you. I’ve really needed you, I — I really need you,” he amends. “And you’ve been amazing.”

Enjolras reaches up with one hand to brush his thumb over Grantaire’s face, rough and scratchy since he hasn’t had a moment to shave today. Grantaire shivers, the light from Enjolras’ startling eyes nearly blinding him. He closes his eyes.

“Grantaire?” Enjolras whispers, inches away from him and he shuts his eyes even tighter.

“No,” he hears himself breathe and the thumb on his face stills instantly.


Grantaire tries to laugh, but his eyes are still squeezed shut, his breathing shallow, and it comes out sounding ragged. Enjolras says his name again.

“It’s just ironic, isn’t it?” Grantaire says in an attempt at lightness. “Greek god of ideal like you calling something like me amazing. Leaning on me? It’s funny.”

Enjolras is frowning at him. “It’s not funny,” he says softly.

“I’m not exactly the paragon of hope, am I?” Grantaire continues frantically. “I —”

But Enjolras surges forward and shuts him up with his own mouth, kissing him wildly, tongue and teeth and lips until Grantaire can’t breath anymore, let alone talk.

“Do you have any fucking idea how much you mean to me?” Enjolras asks as soon as they break apart, pressing his forehead against Grantaire’s, hands still clinging, finding Grantaire’s hands. “Why are you talking like this?”

Grantaire gasps and blinks and reels. “Listen, Apollo,” he says, more quietly than he means to, “I get that I put up a lot of fronts, but can you just let me keep this one?” He’s begging. He knows he is.

“No,” Enjolras says immediately. “Not this one. Not the one that tells you you’re not good enough for me. Not the one that makes you think that I don’t want you or I don’t need you or I shouldn’t want or need you.” His hand comes up now and grips Grantaire by the back of his neck like he wants to hold him to this earth by sheer force of will. His voice is chilling. “Not the one that keeps you from me.”

Grantaire lets out a kind of shuddering sound and Enjolras kisses it away.

“You drive me fucking wild,” he’s muttering between open-mouthed kisses that start against Grantaire’s mouth and then trail along his face and down his neck. “Sometimes I look at you and you’re just watching me with this look on your face I can’t even explain, and all I want to do it tear all of your goddamn clothes off and fuck you on whatever flat surface is closest. And sometimes you make me want to scream and shake you and yell until you fucking hear me. And then shit like this happens and you sit on my couch waiting for me to come home just so you can stroke my hair, and you hold my hand because somehow you know how much that means to me, and you’re there and there and always there and Grantaire.” His eyes are wide, now, and wondering. “That’s worth more to me right now that you could ever know. And I don’t just do this, this relationship thing. I didn’t ask you to do this with me because I wanted the relationship, I asked you because I wanted you. And I still want you today. And tomorrow, I will want you. And this has nothing to do with Combeferre, this is me and this is you, and this is me wanting you. Okay?”

Grantaire is looking at Enjolras with this kind of reserved frown on his face, and Enjolras can’t tell if anything he’s said has been heard or if his cynic is shutting him out again, keeping him at arm’s length because he fancies himself Icarus and Enjolras the god of light.

But then, slowly, Grantaire nods. “Okay,” he whispers.

It’s lucky, really, that they’re down to underwear only, because the way Grantaire is looking at him right now, Enjolras doesn’t just want him, he needs him right now. And between the desperate, hungry way he kisses him and the fingers that slide under the waistband of his boxers, Grantaire gets the hint pretty quickly. There’s a little bit of a frenzied scramble as Enjolras tries to simultaneously fish in his bedside drawer for a condom and lube and devour Grantaire whole, starting with his mouth, but they figure it out soon enough and the sounds Grantaire makes as he’s writhing around Enjolras’ fingers are more than worth it, and the sigh that escapes when Enjolras presses a loving kiss to his collarbone makes Enjolras shake.

Grantaire starts in on a stream of profanity when Enjolras starts to move inside him, but all that comes tumbling out of Enjolras’ mouth is, I want you, over and over again. Until Grantaire believes it. Until the whole damn world believes it.

When, spent, they tangle around each other again, Enjolras stretches to press kiss after burning kiss to Grantaire’s face. “You have to know this,” he breathes. “Because sometimes I’m going to be terrible and distant and ass-faced, because that’s what I do. So you have to understand this.”

“I want to,” Grantaire tells him. He doesn’t even smirk when he adds, “You may need to convince me.”

And convincing is Enjolras’ favorite activity. So he convinces. He talks about Grantaire, and how much Grantaire means to him, and all the little things that he sees and feels and knows about Grantaire. And then he talks about himself, and the things he feels and knows about himself. And there, Grantaire joins in. And he talks about the things he feels about Enjolras. Maybe not all of the things, but some, and that’s enough for tonight. And then they talk about them. Together. And this is the most they’ve ever talked about them since there was a them to talk about. And Enjolras smiles and brushes his nose against Grantaire’s, and Grantaire grins and feels like crying. Because this is them. And he still can’t really believe in it. But he can believe in Enjolras.

And Enjolras believes in them.

Suddenly, Enjolras’ eyes flick toward the alarm clock next to the bed and he sighs and closes his eyes. “Shit.”

“What?” Grantaire asks, shifting to try to look at the clock, too, but Enjolras’ arms are looped around him and he can’t move much.

Enjolras kisses his face anyway, which stops him.

“I have to get up and get dressed,” Enjolras sighs. “It’s 5am. I’m picking Combeferre up in twenty minutes.”

“Do you want me to come with you to the airport?” Grantaire asks cautiously.

Enjolras smiles at him as he’s sitting up and shakes his head, brushing fingers over that face he’s starting to wonder if he might love (and shoves the thought away because it’s been two weeks and it’s way too soon for that and he can’t think about that right now). And he whispers, “Just be here when I get back, all right?”

Grantaire smiles, too, and turns into the hand on his face, gently kissing the soft, calloused palm. “I’ll be wherever you want me,” he murmurs and the look Enjolras gives him (the grateful, tender look) stops his heart.


They never needed words, not even when they were basically kids and barely knew each other. Enjolras has always been tactile — a tap on the arm or a squeeze of a shoulder means more to him than most words can — and Combeferre almost breathes in the atmosphere of a room and internalizes it. So they’ve never needed words, because for them, a glance, a tap, a sigh is all they’ll ever need to say.

So the ride to the airport (in Jehan’s little bright orange car) is quiet, just the way they like it. Combeferre reaches over at one point and touches Enjolras’ wrist and Enjolras lets out a long breath.

When they pull up to the curbside drop-off (Combeferre insisted — he hates long goodbyes and can’t bear to let Enjolras come with him to the gate), Enjolras puts the car in park and turns toward his best friend.

“Call me when you land,” he says, and it almost sounds like an order. “No texting, I want you to actually call me.”

Combeferre nods. “I’ll call before I deplane,” he promises. Then, “I’m going to miss you very much.”

Enjolras frowns. He reaches across the center console and pulls Comebeferre into a hug.

I’m going to miss you more than I can say.

And he doesn’t have to say. Because they never needed words.

They still don’t.

1 year ago · 187
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