Hugs Before Toast

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Chapter 9

Enjolras is positive that he is wrapped up in all of the clothes that he owns right now, he is finding it difficult to even move his arms because all of the layers of jumpers and shirts that he owns and the fact that he is wearing two coats, has restricted his arm movement. Feuilly is in a similar state to him and he has wrapped himself up in two duvets and several blankets in addition to his several layers. Despite the amount of layers that he is wearing, Enjolras is still cold and he is worried that his teeth are going to shatter with the amount of times he is chattering them. He and Feuilly are both on the sofa together, trying to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas in the attempt to gain some Christmas spirit as each second that they are in the cold, Christmas spirit leaves Enjolras with his remaining body heat.

“The heaters are broken and they won’t be fixed until new year.” Grantaire says as he walks into the apartment, slamming the door behind him. Grantaire who claimed that the cold never bothered him anyway, is now wearing his coat and a pair of snow trousers and a woollen hat with ear tassels on them, Enjolras isn’t too sure if it is the first sign of hypothermia, but he thinks that Grantaire looks cute anyway. But he is positive that it is the first sign of dying from the cold.

“Bloody great.” Feuilly sighs as he wraps his pile of blankets around himself even tighter, and his nose is the only thing that is visible.

“Is there any space heaters or anything?” Enjolras asks. Suddenly realising that is it not normal to see your breath indoors.

“Do Joly and Bossuet have one?” Feuilly asks. “I think that they do.” Feuilly seems to perk up at this thought and he sits up on the sofa and has a look of childish wonder in his eyes.

“They do.” Grantaire says as he collapses on the arm chair, rubbing his hands together. Grantaires’s hands are bright pink and he looks if he hasn’t been wearing any gloves, but the sad truth is that Grantaire has just taken his gloves off. “But they just left for the holidays like the rest of our friends. And besides,” Grantaire says sounding a bit mournful. “They have hidden their spare key, as they don’t want me or anyone else to break into their bedroom and find incrementing evidence to blackmail them.”

“Well this is brilliant.” Enjolras sighs.

“So are we going to freeze to death then?” Feuilly asks.

“Looks like it, mate.” Grantaire sighs as he reaches over to pat Feuilly’s shoulder. “It was great to make it to the bitter end with you. At least there is a positive.” He adds in.

“What?” Enjolras asks.

“We don’t have to do finals if we die.” Grantaire adds in with a bit of a forced chuckle.

“That is true.” Enjolras murmurs, wondering if it is possible for a human tongue to get frost bite if he continues to speak. Enjolras doesn’t know if it is the cold that is speaking or not, but the possibility of dying and not doing finals seems a bit appealing to be honest. Enjolras is pretty sure that he is going to fail this year, mostly as he sits next to Bahorel, Marius and Courfeyrac and they are not the best people to sit with, as they are too loud and too distracting. Even if they are being quiet and paying attention to the lecture, they are tapping their pencils, mouth breathing and just fidgeting. It is a miracle that Enjolras hasn’t murdered them yet. He takes the best notes that he can, and he tries to study, but Grantaire must be in allegiance with the three of them as he tends to be rather distracting. He always chooses to work out when Enjolras is trying to study or he just shows off his tattoos, just to put him off. It has gotten to the point where Enjolras has taken to study in the Musian’s store cupboard after paying Musichetta to go in there and promising that he won’t steal any food or coffee filters. It is not the best place, but Enjolras doesn’t mind it , as that Grantaire can’t get to him through there, as like many people Grantaire will study in the library.

“Do any of you have plans for the holiday?” Feuilly asks.

“I was going to be enjoying the heat from a boiler that is working,” Grantaire sighs. “But that might have to wait. What about you Enj?”

“Doing homework.” Enjolras shrugs, though it is becoming difficult due to all of the layers that he is wearing. “Just the usual, as I normally do.”

“You are such a creative and original person, you know that?” Grantaire asks with a smirk, trying to get Enjolras riled up as Enjolras is boring when he is quiet.

Enjolras opens up his mouth to fire an insult back, but there is nothing that comes out of his mouth. He can’t think of anything at all, maybe the cold has gotten to his brain and made him less intelligent. “At least, I don’t have a silly hat.” He says finally, judging by the confused looks that he is getting from his roommates, his insult was rather shit, but it wasn’t as passionate as his old insults. Recently he had been becoming nicer to Grantaire, and Enjolras didn’t know if he should be scared or not about that.

“Grantaire do you have plans for the holiday?” Feuilly asks in the attempt to change the subject, with a slightly forced cheerful tone.

“Get drunk and paint.” Grantaire shrugs. “It is how I get the course work done, as I really don’t like it.”

“Is art that bad?” Enjolras asks. “I thought that it would be creative and unique for everyone.”

“It is.” Grantaire says taking a swig of eggnog, “but when you study it, all individuality goes out of the window. I reckon that there is going to be at least one thousand paintings of the same bowl of fruit by the end of the year.”

“That is a bit boring.” Enjolras says rubbing his hands together in the attempt to feel his fingers again.

“It is, but art is suffering.” Grantaire replies, laughing at Snoopy’s antics on the TV. “Do you have plans for the holiday’s Feuilly?”

“I have a few days off and I was wondering if we could all go around to the orphanage that I grew up in and give the kids some presents dressed up as Santa and the elves. We can use the money from the bake sale and I have kept aside some money for the kids.” Feuilly suggests. “I understand if you don’t want to go, if you have families to go to.”

“That sounds fine with me Feuilly.” Enjolras says, he turns around to look at Grantaire. “What do you think?”

“I don’t have anywhere to be and I can bring some art materials with me and I can let the kids paint if they want to.” Grantaire shrugs. “Means I can procrastinate from doing my folio or I can find a talented child and get them to do it for me. You never know, might get one to do my final for me as well.”

“What are the chances of that happening?” Enjolras asks.

“Children are rather intelligent when they want to be.” Feuilly says . “Once you get past the bit of the brain where they laugh at fart jokes, but most don’t grow out of that part. Take Bahorel for example.”

“Or Courfeyrac.” Enjolras says.

“Or myself.” Grantaire says absentmindedly.

All three look at one another before they burst into loud laughter that echoes the apartment. Suddenly the lack of heat doesn’t bother Enjolras as he has his friends and the laughter warms him up. They spend the rest of the night in a pillow barricade that they make in the living room with all of the blankets that are in their apartment, eating ice cream and watching cartoons. It wasn’t probably the most mature thing that Enjolras has done in his life, but he had fun nether the less.

Feuilly has brought home a twig from work and he has put a cardboard star on the top of it and there are some old light bulbs hanging from the producing arms of the ‘Christmas tree.’ It looks like a bit of a fire hazard, but Feuilly looks rather proud of it as he sticks it in the middle of the coffee table. It is probably the most festive thing that is in their apartment apart from a few sparse cards that are hanging sadly by the TV. Their apartment looks nothing like Its A Wonderful Life, but it is better than nothing, even though Enjolras kind of wants the chestnuts on an open fire atmosphere. Feuilly’s old record player is playing Christmas records that will stop and repeat themselves all the time, due to the fact that the records are scratched. They would be using a proper CD player or an ipod, but Feuilly insists that the record player is the only way to get Christmas magic into the place, and because everyone adores Feuilly, they let him have his way with it.

Even though he is against the Christmas spirit, most of the time, Enjolras is wearing a jumper that Cosette and Marius have knitted him and it rivals one of Prouvaire’s jumpers with a snowman that has a 3d carrot nose that sticks out. The two of them thought that they would take part in more couples activities to ‘strengthen their relationship,’ but Enjolras is pretty sure that is a translation for, ‘We are going to snog now, and we won’t be judged by the other couples and we will look like the poster for a good relationship.’ Enjolras doesn’t mind as he has gotten a free jumper out of it and it is actually warm even though it is hideous.

“Do you like the Christmas tree?” Feuilly asks with a proud look on his face once he places the star on the top of the tree.

“Looks rather dangerous.” Enjolras replies, “I don’t think you should plug it in just in case, and I do like living here.”

“I will make sure that Grantaire stays away from it then.” Feuillly nods. “Or if he is going to plug it in, he should tell us in advance so I can get my things before the fire starts and I can get the marshmallows ready.”

“You would roast marshmallows on the flames of a burning Christmas tree?”

“Why not?” Feuilly asks. “I am sure that there would be some poetic justice in it, if you looked hard enough.”

Enjolras only shrugs before he continues to eat his breakfast, sometimes it was just better not to ask. Enjolras was positive that each day he was faced with ten questions that he shouldn’t ask before breakfast.

Out of all the strange things that he has done in his rather short life, Enjolras thinks that he has hit the strange things to do before he dies bucket list, when he finds himself in Grantaire’s bed.

The sensation of sharing a bed with someone is a strange feeling for Enjolras, he has never done it before and he never thought that he would be performing this activity with Grantaire. It is a sign about how far that they have come along. Feuilly is sick and Enjolras has insisted that Feuilly can take his bed while he goes into Grantaire’s, as Feuilly can’t sleep on a couch bed when he is ill, and besides his bedroom is the closest to the bathroom if Feuilly needs to go into it during the night. Enjolras was going to take the couch bed, but Grantaire was rather insistent on the fact that they could share his bed.

So this is how Enjolras finds himself in his situation. He goes on the bed and goes as close to the edge as he can without the risk of falling out of it and nose diving into Grantaire’s art supplies. The strange thing about the whole situation is that Grantaire doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that he has to share a bed well, he was the one who suggested that they do it. But he makes no move to make a great wall of pillows along the centre of the bed, just to prevent any homo from going on. But Enjolras is doubting that Grantaire wouldn’t really mind if Enjolras accidently spoons him during the night.

“Is everything okay, Enjolras?” Grantaire asks once he gets into the bed, he takes one look at Enjolras’s face and he has a look of confusion on his face. “I can sleep on the sofa if you want me to. You can take the bed.”

“No, I don’t mind sharing a bed with you.” Enjolras says shaking his head, pulling the blankets over to his chin. “It is Christmas, isn’t there always drama going on at this time of the year? You know the type of drama that doesn’t involve Santa not coming around this time of year or children finding out that there is no Santa.”

“Are you not happy because you are here, instead of being somewhere better and with better company?” Grantaire asks carefully, as if he doesn’t know what to say or if he says it wrong he wouldn’t know how to save the sentence.

The problem is that Enjolras likes being here in his small apartment with Grantaire and Feuilly, but even though he doesn’t get on with his parents and he dislikes their arguing, he wishes that he could be with some of his family that he likes. He likes his cousins and he would usually spend the holiday talking about politics and methods of social change while drinking hot chocolate with people who were his clones in many aspects, in appearance and ideas. But spending time in a ski house with his parents who were apparently getting their divorce papers passed through and spending the holidays together for appearances sake isn’t worth all the political conversations that Enjolras could have with the family he likes. So when he got his Christmas phone call from his father who just stated ‘Your mother and I are getting a divorce, do you want to go on the ski trip?’ before Enjolras could even ask who it was, Enjolras politely declined going on the ski trip by hanging up his phone and removing the batteries from his phone and the apartment phone, so his parents didn’t get in contact with him. Enjolras then just spends the rest of the day eating marshmallows and watching Bugs Bunny cartoons, as that is the only thing that he can think of doing that will make him not think about his parent’s situation, as he doesn’t know how to feel right now. But now he is in bed, all the thoughts about the whole situation are coming heavy into his mind and are just bothering him.

“I was meant to be skiing with my parents.” Enjolras explains, as maybe it will help to just let someone know about his problem, and Grantaire is just there at the moment and Enjolras is sure that there is a good chance that Grantaire wouldn’t remember it in the morning, so Grantaire can’t use this information against him, if they have a really serious fight. “This time right now, I was meant to be in a ski resort, sleeping in a bed by myself, after eating a god amount of cheese fondue and putting myself into a food coma. But I am here.” He sighs with a sigh.

“Family stuff?” Grantaire asks sounding a bit sad as he turns around in the bed and he faces Enjolras. “It is tradition, I think. Everything in the perfect family dynamic goes to shit at Christmas, just as you wait for Santa to come down the chimney and you wait for your father’s affair to be announced. I think that Christmas specials on the TV are just a lot of rubbish as the family is just so happy, but reality they are not.”

Enjolras keeps his eyes to the celling in the attempt to avoid eye contact with Grantaire. He nods slowly. If there was the opportunity to take a one way plane ticket to Nepal to live in the mountains for the rest of his life as a goat, just so that he wouldn’t have to look at Grantaire, Enjolras would take it in a flash. He is positive that Combeferre would visit him. He hates looking vulnerable in front of Grantaire, in many ways he wishes that he could just be the marble statue that Grantaire wants him to be, so he wouldn’t have to deal with stupid human necessities as feelings and wanting to be cared for in a manner that isn’t pity by someone else. It would make the world a better place for him.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Grantaire asks.

“Not really,” Enjolras says, he turns around in the bed and faces Grantaire. “Why are you here for the holidays?” he asks, in the attempt to change the subject as he is not wanting to discuss his personal life with Grantaire. There is a line that you shouldn’t cross when it comes to delving into your roommate’s personal matters in their life, for most of the time, you and your roommate are meant to have the relationship where you tolerate another and maybe if you are lucky, you tolerate them enough to start a few traditions of your own, and that should be it. Enjolras is more than positive that he has not only crossed that line, but he has flown over it after being crammed into a cannon. It is not really normal for someone to share a bed with their roommate, even if you aren’t close, and talk about feelings. But Grantaire isn’t just a roommate to him, he is a friend. Actually Enjolras isn’t too sure if Grantaire is just a friend anymore, he has gone past the point where his feelings are preventing him from wanting Grantaire to just be a friend. It has gotten to the point that Enjolras is positive that if he doesn’t say anything to Grantaire about his ever so stupid feelings, he is positive that his head is going to explode. Enjolras doesn’t want that, as he is positive that Grantaire and Feuilly aren’t going to be too happy about the mess an exploding head can make.

“My parents don’t really speak to me that much. It is better if we just have the occasional phone call once every couple weeks. There was no point in me going home to get ignored when I could be hanging out with Feuilly, I feel sorry for him, having to spend the holidays alone.” Grantaire shrugs. “It is not a big deal, they work a lot and we didn’t really make that bond that parents and kids should have.”

Enjolras only nods and he doesn’t say anything else. He tries not to get upset about what it is going on with his parents as they have been ripping each other’s throats about for years and he is kind of used to it by now, and he has always known that his parents would get a divorce, most people in their neighbourhood knew that his parents would get a divorce one day. But when he got that phone call from his father, he felt sad for some reason. He is past the age that his parent’s being divorced would cause trauma for him that would last for years, but even though he is in university the idea of his parents getting a divorce is something that causes him a lot of confusion on how he should react to it.

“I know that you probably don’t want to talk right now, but I think that we should. Combeferre says that bottling things up it is really bad, and the more you think about it and dwell on it, the worse that it is going to be.” Grantaire says looking at Enjolras, propping himself with one elbow. “Your eyes look really sad.”

Enjolras takes in a deep breath and he closes his eyes. “My parents are getting a divorce. “ He says simply. “I got a phone call from my father this morning. I don’t know what to feel about it, I knew that it was going to happen, but I do not want to talk about it anymore. I think that I am going to be fine, I think.”

“Oh shit,” Grantaire mutters under his breath. “Should I be hugging you right now or something? I don’t really know what to say to make this better”

Hugs are something that Enjolras never gets a lot of, mostly as he doesn’t like them, he hates the feeling of being trapped by someone’s arms as he feels rather claustrophobic. It is not that he doesn’t get hugs, if he wants one, Combeferre is permitted to hug him once in a blue moon and Enjolras feels a little less sad after a hug from the person who is the closet thing that he would ever get to a brother. Maybe a hug from Grantaire would make him feel sad and maybe it will stop him spoiling Christmas for Feuilly and the children in the orphanage. “I sort of want one.” He admits finally.

Grantaire shuffles around on the bed and he moves to the edge that Enjolras is on, and drags him close. It is a bit awkward as Enjolras is desperately trying not to fall off the bed as he rests his head on Grantaire’s shoulder as Grantaire’s long arms make their way around him. He is positive that he has broken so many roommate boundaries in the past few seconds. Even though it is the most awkward hug that Enjolras has ever been dragged into, Enjolras likes it, but it could be the fact that it is Grantaire who is hugging him.

“Is this fine for you, Apollo?” Grantaire asks.

Enjolras only nods his head, he likes it more than what he would admit. He doesn’t understand why Grantaire is being so nice to him; it just puzzles him to a great extent. They fight all the time, but the fighting has gone down recently and if they do fight it is one that lasts five minutes maximum. But Enjolras knows that he is frequently rude to Grantaire and probably does things that roommates shouldn’t do such as accidently eat Grantaire’s sandwich that has left in the fridge and have his music on too loud, but Grantaire is still nice to him and now they are hugging. “Grantaire why are you nice to me?” Enjolras asks.

“Because you are letting me,” Grantaire states as if it is the most obvious thing in the world.

The answer is so simple, there has to be more to it than just that. He turns around in Grantaire’s embrace and faces Grantaire the best that he can. “Grantaire I am not a nice person to you or I try but I fail on a regular basis. But you are nice to me no matter how much I piss you off. There must be a real reason to this.”

Grantaire sighs and closes his eyes. “I don’t know if I should tell you or not, because you might think that I am creepy and weird.”

“Grantaire, please just tell me.”

Grantaire sighs once more. “I like you.” He says simply. “I really like you, more than bacon.”

Enjolras feels his mouth go dry and he swallows. He can feel his chest tighten and his heart feels as if it is going to burst out of his chest. Grantaire likes him more than bacon, no one has ever told him that they like him more than smoked meat before, it is probably the most romantic thing someone has ever said to him. Maybe it is something that Grantaire is just saying because he feels bad for him and the fact that they are sharing a bed probably makes it a social protocol to say things like this.

“I can understand if you think that I am weird and I can move out if you want and I can crash with Joly and Bossuet for the rest of the year.” Grantaire says.

“You don’t need to do that.” Enjolras says as he looks Grantaire right in the eyes. He was going to need to tell Grantaire this some time, screw it. “I like you more than blueberries. I have done for a really long time.”

“Why didn’t you say anything?” Grantaire asks.

“Because I am an idiot.” Enjolras says. “I really do like you, and I think that we could be good together, even though we fight a lot and I get upset over stupid things. You don’t have to, as if you are just saying this shit so I can feel better, we don’t need to do anything and I can go on looking like an idiot.”

“Enjolras, just shut up.” Grantaire says fondly. “I think that we could be good together, I am not going to be the best boyfriend or whatever you call me, but I am going to try my best for you. Plus I find it cute that you actually care about the toaster and the brightness of the TV, as you are like the only person in the world who cares about them.”

“That is all I want.” Enjolras says as he places a kiss on Grantaire’s cheek. “I would hug you more and that, but I just want to go to sleep.”

Grantaire doesn’t even reply back to him as he is fast asleep, and is already snoring loudly. When Enjolras thought that when he would confess his feelings - if he ever would get around to doing it, he thought it would be like in the movies with candles and maybe even a row boat and fireworks. Instead of that he does it while he is half asleep and then Grantaire falls asleep on him.

To be honest, Enjolras wouldn’t want it any other way.

When Enjolras wakes up the next morning, the other side of the bed is empty. He doesn’t think much about it, as he is still in the wonderful land that it in-between dreams and reality, where even though he is awake, the world isn’t yet too real to him. Enjolras plods out of the bed that isn’t his and when he comes more to his full senses when his bare feet feel the coldness of the kitchen floor tiles, he is hit with the embarrassment from last night. Last night just seemed to go into a blur, with Grantaire and him in a bed, and just holding him while he told Grantaire about his parents and the fact that he had asked Grantaire to be with him and he had kissed Grantaire. It would probably have to be the most embarrassing few hours in Enjolras’s life. When he had woken up the next morning, he found that his bed was empty. Enjolras reckoned that Grantaire had probably pissed off when he realised how pathetic that he was that he got so upset over a simple family issue.

Grantaire is in the kitchen just covering some toast in a thick coating of jam while he is dressed in a horrendous dressing gown with his head bobbing along to some stupid Christmas song. Enjolras moves to the sofa and leans against the top , just watching him and wondering how someone like Grantaire has come into life and put up would him for this long, and now they are what they are, and when he makes eye contact with Grantaire, that action alone makes his heart strings sting a little as they are doing the best to stop his heart from flying out of his body when he looks at Grantaire, he gives him the best smile that he can muster. He knows that it must be lacking in its usual confidence of some sort, as within seconds Grantaire comes over to him and wraps his arms around his body. Enjolras rests his head against Grantaire’s shoulder and closes his eyes and he is wondering if Grantaire would be worried about his toast going cold, but Grantaire doesn’t seem to care about his breakfast. Enjolras tries to speak, but he can’t get the words to come out and to tell Grantaire about his toast. Grantaire doesn’t say anything to him, but just hugs him.

Maybe when you are in a relationship, hugs come before toast?

They stay like that for several minutes and when Enjolras is completely sure that Grantaire’s toast has reached the point of no return of actually being eaten, not unless Grantaire is a fan of Melba toast. Feuilly comes into the kitchen, and looks at them both with a look of confusion and pours himself a cup of coffee in the measuring jug, as someone, namely Grantaire had forgotten it was his turn to wash the dishes once more. He takes a sip and looks at the two of them again, looking slightly more awake.

“So you two, are a thing now?” Feuilly asks slowly, clearly needing more coffee to help him process what is going on. He grabs the measuring jug that he is drinking out of and takes a swig out of it and narrowly avoids getting coffee on his pyjamas. Normally it would be Bossuet who would be the person who would discover the couples within their increasingly incestuous family, but Enjolras thinks that Feuilly is giving him a break. It is just Bossuet’s luck to discover couples and their goings on within the group. He walked into the store room of the Musian to put a broom away and he found Jehan and Courfeyrac in a compromising position, and Bossuet just walked out of the closet and whimpered into Joly’s shoulder for two hours before he could announce the couple. There was also the time when he walked into the laundry room in the apartment block to find a slack jawed Eponine and a giggling Cosette and Marius who was down on one knee with a ring in his hand. There was the time when he walked into the Musian bathroom when he found Musichetta and Joly confessing their love for another, and then he got dragged into the mix by Joly and it is probably the only time in his life that Bossuet has ever experienced the concept of good luck.

“Yes we are.” Grantaire says proudly before Enjolras can even open his mouth to reply. He looks at Grantaire and he starts to think of the many words that can be use to describe the position that Grantaire has in his life. Grantaire is his roommate, his friend, the bastard who has eats as if he has worms, and a lot more, but he had never though that boyfriend would be one. Maybe it showed that like everyone else, Enjolras himself could be human and could be loved.

“Do you want me to crash somewhere else now?” Feuilly asks, “As I can if you want me to, if you need to be alone.”

“You live here too Feuilly.” Enjolras says as he walks over to the kitchen island where Feuilly sitting at. “We are not going to make you homeless. Maybe if you tell people about this.” Enjolras says gesturing to himself and to Grantaire. “I don’t want to be the focus of gossip, that is Courfreyrac’s job and I am doubting that he is going to like me stealing his job.”

“Besides dude.” Grantaire says. “Who else in our small group of friends is going to teach me Kung foo? I don’t exactly see Prouvaire doing it, well it wouldn’t surprise me if he is part of your secret fight club. He likes to hang about with skulls, maybe the skull he speaks to, is the one guy he killed in fight club.

“For the last time Grantaire, I am not part of fight club.” Feuilly says with a sigh of frustration.

“That is the first rule of fight club, not to talk about Fight Club.” Grantaire says with a smirk.

“Grantaire, I am not in fight club.” Feuilly says in-between his teeth. “How many times do I need to tell you?”

“Maybe when you convince me that you are not in fight club.” Grantaire says, clearly taking too much enjoyment in harassing Feuilly. “I have seen you kick Bahorel’s ass in Mortal Combat.”

“That is a video game!” Feuilly exclaims. “I just press random buttons as I have no bloody clue what I am doing!”

“Fight Club moves.” Grantaire says. “You just pretend to not know what you are doing, but secretly, you know how to whoop ass.”

“I am going to make some bacon.” Enjolras says, as he feels that he needs to celebrate and just so he cannot be involved in his stupid argument between his roommates…no actually, his boyfriend and his roommate. As he turns his back to face the stove and he hears Feuilly shouts of his denial about being in fight club, and Grantaire’s taunts, he smiles to himself as at the moment there is no place that he would rather be, even though that is cheesy as hell. Maybe it is all the Christmas music that he has been listening to , has just made him a little bit soppy and sentimental, dam that Christmas joy.

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