In the Gutter

Grantaire's back is pressed against the door, Enjolras' breath harsh in his ear as his fingers unfasten Grantaire's clothing in sharp tugs that almost tear the fabric. While Grantaire writhes helplessly against his body, Enjolras whispers a steady stream of abuse into his ear: "You're still drinking, I can smell it on your breath. Will you ever stop? You're wasting your life through the damned drink and your mind through whatever poison has rendered you incapable of belief. You can't stop, can you? You'll never be anything but the winecask in the corner, picking away at our ideas because you have none of your own. You're disgusting, Grantaire." He says Grantaire as if it were a swear word, fingernails digging into the flesh of his side and leaving marks there.

"Be careful there," Grantaire gasps as Enjolras moves to unfasten his trousers, "telling me I'm wasting my life. For a moment you sounded like you actually cared about me and my sorry little habits."

Enjolras' eyes flash and he stops what he's doing to slam Grantaire's shoulders against the door in frustration. "I would," he says. "I would, you good-for-nothing drunkard, if you'd only make the first effort to help yourself. I'd lift you right up out of the gutter if you showed the slightest desire to get out, but I can't help you when all you want to do is wallow there. One would think you enjoy it." He pulls Grantaire's trousers down around his knees, and as Grantaire kicks them off completely he starts to work on his own clothing.

"When one knows one can never escape," Grantaire says softly, "one learns to enjoy what one can. Kiss me, Enjolras."

But Enjolras dodges his lips and grabs his arm, twisting it painfully behind his back. "That's not true," he says angrily. "You could better yourself if you wanted to and you know it, but you refuse to believe you can. If you'd only believe."

The words are barbed, hurtful, but Grantaire savors their sting because they are laced through and through with the boy's damn fool belief. Grantaire lost the ability to hope along with the ability to believe, on the wayside of the path towards his present miserable state, but sometimes, when his drunken folly is particularly idiotic, sometimes he thinks Enjolras has enough hope for the both of them.

They say no more. Grantaire tries to kiss Enjolras again, or at least to embrace him and press his lips against that impossibly smooth neck, but each attempt is met only with a staying grip or a push away. Enjolras is all motion: the motion of shoving him facedown onto the bed, of straddling him, of spitting on his fingers and reaching down. Grantaire buries his face in the pillow as Enjolras thrusts roughly into him, and thinks that there is something of spite in that movement, as if he wants to simultaneously hurt Grantaire and make him feel guilty for enjoying it anyway. At some point he tries halfheartedly to pull away, his cheeks burning with shame, but Enjolras grabs his hips and keeps going, teeth digging into his shoulder, sweat-dark blond hair tangling and getting into both their eyes, in their mouths, spreading out on the pillow like damp silk as he thrusts and gasps and finally goes limp.

Enjolras takes only a moment to compose himself before pulling away, eyes still burning with an anger that verges on sexuality. He sits up, rakes his hair into some semblance of order with his fingers, pulls his knees to his chest, and looks on with clinical detachment as Grantaire takes in a shuddering breath and turns to him, still achingly hard.

"Please," Grantaire rasps through lips swollen with his own biting teeth. "Please—I—touch me. Anything."

Enjolras doesn't speak, doesn't even move. There is a faintly condescending curl to his lip as he watches Grantaire pant and sweat and try to extricate himself from the tangled sheets; sitting there, perfectly composed, his skin seeming to glow in the diffused moonlight that filters through the grimy window, he looks far too pure and distant to have been fucking Grantaire to incoherence thirty seconds ago. Grantaire shoots him one last pleading glance and begins to touch himself, desperately, trying to ignore the way Enjolras is looking at him: like one would watch two animals mating, a bit repulsed and almost amused. He tries to ignore that look and his own vulnerability and humiliation, and instead of meeting Enjolras' gaze he fixes his eyes on that pale, beautiful body, as perfect as if he'd never been touched. Or touched anyone—and Grantaire fixes himself on that thought, focusing on the echoes of hands and limbs against his skin to bring himself to a messy and most undignified climax.

When he finishes, Enjolras gets off the bed and begins to slink around the room with the grace of a cat, collecting his clothing as he goes. He is half-dressed by the time Grantaire can gather enough daring to speak:

"You hate me, don't you? No, worse: you look down on me. What does it take? What do I have to do to get an ounce of respect from you? I don't want kisses or caresses—I swear to you my life would be complete if you would only shake my hand as an equal. What does it take, Enjolras?"

Enjolras pulls his waistcoat on and starts for the door, holding his coat in one hand and using the other to tie back his hair again. "Make yourself worthy of respect," he says shortly, and then he pulls on his coat and is gone.