Returning to dinner with Éponine, Montparnasse and Marius following him felt… surreal. Grantaire hadn’t really known Marius, except for the fact that Éponine was totally crushing on that boy. He was a bit shy, a bit clumsy. He was kind, Grantaire thought, but in an awkward kind of way. Just as Éponine always turned into an awkward mess when he was around. Grantaire was pretty sure the crush wasn’t double sided.

And Montparnasse… Grantaire had always only known him as ‘sir’, as the one who gave orders, as the teacher’s pet of Claquesous. But apparently when given the choice he had wanted to join the pirates? Because that was what Éponine had told them. After the fight had been over, they had heard the real destination of their ship. Not everyone had believed the pirate captain, but he had given them a choice nevertheless to join him. Only three had chosen that path.

The other pirates were still laughing and eating when Grantaire and the others joined them. If they were surprised their other ‘definitely-not-prisoners’ joined them, they didn’t show it. Perhaps Enjolras had already told them they were joining them today.

It was almost easy, seeing the others blend in with the pirates. And maybe it felt easy for Grantaire too. The crew had felt way too familiar the past few days. Had almost felt like friends. But always, always, had there been that voice inside the back of his head, telling him to be wary. Telling him to keep a distance, that they were the murderers of the people of the Patron-Minette. And every day he had shut out that voice a little bit more, had closed the distance more and more until he had been dangerously close to these people.

But with the living proof that they weren’t these murderers sitting next to him he could finally relax a bit. Finally watch Joly, Bossuet en Musichetta fool around and feed each other little pieces of food. Listen to Courfeyrac and his lovingly complaining about his husband. See how Montparnasse was seated next to Jehan, how he had no attention for anyone but Jehan with their flowers in their hair. How Marius sat next to Cosette, blushing and stammering. A favor returned by Cosette. Grantaire had never seen the girl like this, but really, how long had he known her?

Judging by the looks Éponine gave Marius and Cosette, she had noticed too.

And with the time that passed, bedtime came. The work was done, the food was gone and the gambling came to an end. Only the night watch would be awake, scouting the seas for danger or other ships or dangerous weather.

“You’re not coming?” Éponine asked Grantaire. There were three hammocks available for the three not-prisoners, as they had been told. As their quarantaine-time (so called by Combeferre) was done and they were ‘deemed trustworthy’ they could sleep with the crew, no longer in the cell.

“I have my place elsewhere,” he said. It was vague, of course, and it was on purpose. No one had told him there was a hammock ready for him, and they had specifically told Marius, Éponine and Montparnasse.

“No, this boy here sleeps in the captain’s quarters,” Bahorel said, while ruffling Grantaire’s hair. Grantaire poked him in the ribs for this.

“Wait, you sleep with the captain? But where does he sleep then?” Éponine asked.

Grantaire laughed. “Honestly, I don’t think Apollo needs sleep.” He had no clue where the captain slept (if it wasn’t for at his desk at least). He must have had a second room, right? “As long as he doesn’t chase me out, I’m not joining the snoring of these ones.”

“Oi mate!”

And when Grantaire reached the cabin, it was empty. As usual. More papers were lying on the table, a clear sign Enjolras had been there. Grantaire had not spoken to the man after he had left them down there by the cell.

It was the middle of the night when Grantaire woke up again. This time the cabin wasn’t empty. Staring out of the window stood the captain. His curls were a mess, for like the first time Grantaire had ever seen. Somehow it fitted the time of night.

The moonlight lit up his face, revealing dark circles underneath it. It was more a ghost standing there than a fierce captain.

“You couldn’t sleep?” Grantaire asked. Maybe his words earlier had been right. Maybe the captain didn’t sleep. Maybe that wasn’t Enjolras’ choice.

“Oh, Grantaire, I hope I didn’t wake you up,” Enjolras said.

They were both silent for a while. Eventually it was Grantaire who started talking first. “Where do you sleep?”

Enjolras shrugged. “Sometimes here at my desk. Sometimes on the deck. It depends on the weather and the work I have to do at night.”

“But why?”

Enjolras chuckled. “Because you’re sleeping in my bed.”

Grantaire sighed. He had figured that much. “I can sleep with the others. We both know that. Why am I still here?”

More silence. “Because it seemed like a lot, everything that happened around you. A little peace, a place without others seemed the least you needed.”

“And you don’t need your sleep?” Honestly, Grantaire didn’t want to give up the privacy or silence, but he would understand it if Enjolras wanted his place back. The man seemed reluctant to say so.

“Tomorrow is a big day,” Enjolras said instead. “We will cross paths with the ship we’ve been chasing. The one you helped discover. There will be a battle.”

He turned around and looked at Grantaire. “I will not ask you or your crewmates to fight with us. But even when staying on the ship, things might go terribly wrong. The ship is heavily loaded and on board is a fully armed battalion. I understand you didn’t ask for this, but I want you to know what is waiting for us. So you can pose as a prisoner if things go south, if you want to.”

“We’ll be fine, Apollo,” Grantaire said. He wasn’t sure of that, but if the stories about Les Amis were true (and he had found out personally they were great fighters), there was not much to worry about.

He wasn’t happy about hearing they were heading to a fight, but really, what had he expected? He had known they were chasing a ship. They were pirates. One way or the other a fight was coming. That didn’t mean he felt prepared at all.

“Why do you keep calling me Apollo?”

Grantaire shrugged. “Because… because you are. Or to me at least. An unreachable god.” A man hidden in mysteries. A man used to being obeyed. A man capable of anything, who was worshipped by mortals.

A man people were willing to die for. Willing to try to reach, until they would tumble down and be swallowed by the sea. And when Grantaire would fall down like Icarus, with melted wings, Enjolras would still be standing up there, shining as bright as ever.

“What if I don’t want to be a god?”

Grantaire chuckled. “You’ve passed that point a long time ago, I’m afraid. A god doesn’t get to choose whether he is holy or mortal. He just is.”

Enjolras slowly nodded. Maybe he had no answer. Maybe the answer was too obvious to tell.

“So you better get your priorities straight,” Grantaire said. “People will follow you anywhere. You better lead them in the right direction.” Because when Enjolras spoke, people would listen. Grantaire would listen. He would follow him till the end of the world, even when every time Enjolras opened his mouth, Grantaire just wanted to scream back.

It was a terrifying feeling.

“Go back to sleep, Grantaire. We will all need our strength tomorrow.”

“Why don’t you join me?” Grantaire asked. “The bed is big enough for two. You will need your strength too.” It was a sorry attempt to say thank you for today. Thank you for finally telling the truth. Thank you for not killing them.

(Why didn’t you tell me immediately? Why have you let me think they had died? Why all the lies and insecurity?)

But as Enjolras laid down too, Grantaire realized he had been wrong about one thing at least: Gods needed sleep too.

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